Hello, Atlanta … is anyone home?

In an op-ed for The Atlantic, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Bottoms lambasts the decision of Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp to reopen the state. Lamenting the fact that Atlanta is a blue city in a red state, Bottoms also appears to bemoan the fact that Atlanta is a blue city in a red nation, as she also turns her ire on President Donald Trump, offering this critique:

In a normal world, we could look to the president of the United States and receive sound, practical advice. Instead, we have to caution people not to ingest and inject their bodies with household cleaners.

That’s a really weird take, because the president’s comment about sanitizers has nothing to do with Georgia’s decision to reopen.

It’s an even weirder take when you consider that it was sandwiched between these two paragraphs:

I may not have the legal authority to override the state. I do have the right to use my voice to encourage people to exercise common sense, listen to the science, follow guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and stay home, if at all possible. We will transition to opening Atlanta when the health experts tell us that it is safe, and we will be a stronger city because of our prudence and deliberation.

As Georgia’s densest city, we are being thoughtful in establishing a timeline for reopening—a timeline that takes into consideration our most vulnerable populations and the workers who risk their safety once they return to work. To ensure that I provide Atlanta citizens with the most informed guidance, I recently established an advisory council for reopening Atlanta. The council is composed of public officials, health experts and private-sector leaders who will advise us on the safest and most efficient process for reopening our city. These partners will help create a framework for reopening our businesses, tourist sites, entertainment venues, houses of worship, and stadiums.

Bottoms’ out-of-the-blue potshot at the president seems to indicate that — like too many politicians — her response to the coronavirus is all about partisanship, not about health.

Despite the fact that Trump’s sanitizers comment was an incredibly dumb and ill-advised comment, if anyone actually took him seriously and injected or ingested Lysol based on what he said, this nation has far bigger problems than who is in the White House.

So what does it say about Bottoms’ blue city in a red state that she’s supposedly having to warn her constituents not to inject or ingest household cleaners?

This is where we’re at in America. We have a president who is using daily coronavirus media briefings as a bully pulpit, and mayors of our largest cities who are wielding the pen to take political jabs under the guise of putting their constituents’ best interests forward during the pandemic.

Welcome to America amid its greatest health crisis since the Spanish flu outbreak — where it’s politics as usual.

Ben Garrett

Ben Garrett is a journalist from East Tennessee. He is publisher of the Independent Herald, a weekly newspaper serving the Big South Fork region of the Cumberland Plateau, with a sideline in website development and digital marketing. He is also an erstwhile blogger.

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