Georgia Governor Brian Kemp said Saturday that the decision to withdraw the Major League Baseball All-Star Game due to objections to changes in his state’s voting laws was a “political move.”
Appearing on “Fox & Friends Weekend,” Kemp said it was “unfortunate” that the league had “given in to cancel the culture” and accused President Biden, Georgia activist Stacey Abrams, and “many other people” of lying about the electoral bill that recently enacted into law.
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“It’s a really sad day for Major League Baseball,” said the Republican governor. “As someone who grew up playing baseball as a kid and a fan, played in high school, you know, big Braves fan, I mean, this is terrible for the organization. It’s terrible for the fans. It’s terrible for small businesses. Owners in the Atlanta metropolitan community and our state who were eager to host this game and had put a lot of resources into it. All because of a big lie. “
Kemp signed the bill on March 25. The legislation imposes new restrictions on voting by mail, adds voter identification requirements and limits the polls. It also requires two early voting Saturdays before the general election, an increase of just one, and leaves two Sundays as optional.
Finally, it prohibits outside groups from giving food or water to those waiting in line to vote.
Critics argue that the Republican-sponsored legislation is an attempt to suppress Democratic votes. Biden criticized the law, calling it “despicable” and “anti-American” at his first press conference last month.
“This is Jim Crow in the 21st century. It must end,” he said in a statement on March 23.
In his own statement on Friday, Abrams wrote that Republican lawmakers had defended the voting bill “knowing the economic risks” and “prioritizing making it more difficult for people of color to vote on the economic well-being of all Georgians.”
“I am disappointed that MLB is relocating the All-Star Game; however, I congratulate the players, owners and the League commissioner for speaking out. I urge others in leadership positions to do so as well,” he said. “As I said, I respect boycotts, although I do not want Georgia families to be hurt by the loss of events and jobs. Georgians who are targeted for voter suppression will suffer as opportunities move to other states. . We must not abandon the victims of the Republican Party malice and lies, we must remain united. “
Abrams called on Georgia Republicans to “renounce the terrible damage they have done to [Georgia’s] voting system “and” the damage they have inflicted on our economy. ”
Mounting pressure, Biden’s remarks and the support of activists like Abrams led MLB Commissioner Robert Manfred to announce the move.
“Major League Baseball fundamentally supports the voting rights of all Americans and opposes restrictions on the polls,” he said.
Delta CEO Ed Bastian also called the law “unacceptable” and Coca-Cola CEO James Quincey called the legislation a “step backward.”
However, Kemp argued, echoing his interview on Friday on “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” that the bill “does not suppress anything” and argued that the new law compares favorably with New York.
“We have 17 days of early voting in person. New York has 10. This bill adds the opportunity for people to potentially vote on two optional Sundays, potentially giving some counties 19 days,” he told “Fox. and Friends “. Hosts.
“Are we boycotting them because they are in New York? No. This is just the culture of canceling, and I will tell you that people at home should be afraid because their ball game is next, their business will be next, their way of life will be next. “
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Kemp said that Biden was not being sincere and that “repression” was “just a buzzword” used to “intimidate” CEOs and corporate boardrooms.
“None of them are citing specific details in the bill. If they find out, they’re just saying, you know, ‘this is a step backwards.’ Or, you know, ‘This is wrong.’ Or whatever, “he added.” As if none of them were pointing out details in the bill because they know very well that their people were on Capitol Hill working with us on the bill. They knew what was in him and now his position has changed. “
Kemp said he agreed with former President Donald Trump, who said in a statement Friday that the MLB leadership was “afraid of radical left Democrats.”
“Boycott baseball and all the companies that have woken up and are interfering with free and fair elections. Are you listening to Coca-Cola, Delta and all that?” he said.
“Well, I think the [former] President, like me, is very frustrated by this canceled culture, “Kemp said, noting that the Atlanta Braves organization did not support MLB’s decision and that “even the Democrats are saying how wrong it is to move the game.”
He said he would be “happy” to have a discussion with MLB on the issue, a sentiment reflected by Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, but noted that he believes the “playbook for this” was already “written more than a month. “because Democrats like Biden and Abrams thought it was” going to be bad. ”
“But, you know, the bottom line wasn’t because it went through the process. We worked with the House and Senate with reasonable people, we put things there to provide even more access, but we also made sure that in Georgia it’s easy. vote and it’s hard to cheat. And I guess they don’t agree with that, “he reflected.
Kemp noted that the bill had been in the works for more than four or five months and “none of these people” had “said anything.”
“The issues that they did say something about, you know, at the end of the day, they didn’t end up on the bill, which is how the process is supposed to work,” Kemp said. “It is very sad for baseball fans that the league has made baseball in the United States of America so political.”
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The governor believes that the fault lies with the liberal push to pass HR1, also known as the “Law for the People.” The legislation would require all states to offer mail-in ballots and automatic voter registration, among other things.
“This is a political move by the President and Stacey Abrams and many other people who want HR1 passed,” Kemp added.
Paulina Dedaj of Fox News and The Associated Press contributed to this report.