'We'll see him in court': Atlanta mayor questions Georgia gov's 'bizarre' lawsuit over mask mandate

Keisha Lance Bottoms said she thinks it’s no coincidence Gov. Brian Kemp filed the suit after she pointed out President Trump violated the city's mask law.

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By Rebecca Shabad

WASHINGTON — Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said Friday that she thinks it’s no coincidence that Georgia’s governor filed a lawsuit against her over her city’s mask law a day after she said President Donald Trump violated it during his visit Wednesday.

“This filing of a lawsuit is simply bizarre, quite frankly,” Bottoms, a Democrat, said in an interview with NBC’s “Today” show.

Bottoms noted that Savannah implemented a mask order on July 1 and Republican Gov. Brian Kemp’s hometown of Athens instituted one on July 8.

“Then when Atlanta instituted a mask order — and I did it via executive order — he filed a lawsuit,” she said. “I don't think it happenstance that this lawsuit came the day after Donald Trump visited Atlanta and I pointed out that he was violating city law by not having on a mask at Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.”

Bottoms said that in addition to the masks issue, Kemp also “takes exception with some advisory business reopening recommendations that were made by the city” and is “suing us personally — myself and the city council — because of the advisory recommendations.”

Kemp sued Bottoms on Thursday, a day after he banned local governments from requiring the face coverings. The lawsuit, which comes amid a sharp rise in COVID-19 cases in the state, argues that Bottoms exceeded her authority in issuing orders in response to the coronavirus that stricter than those imposed by the state government.

In a statement Thursday, Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr said, "The State of Georgia continues to urge citizens to wear masks. This lawsuit is about the rule of law."

In her interview, Lance Bottoms said she thinks Kemp “is putting politics over people,” adding that the governor didn’t know until well into the pandemic that coronavirus could be spread through asymptomatic carriers.

Bottoms, a potential running mate for former Vice President Joe Biden’s 2020 ticket, was speaking to “Today” from her home, where she and her family are quarantined after she, her husband and one of their children recently tested positive for the COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.

She noted that more than 3,000 people have died from the disease in Georgia and over 100,000 people have tested positive for the virus in the state.

“The governor has simply overstepped his bounds and his authority, and we'll see him in court,” she said, adding, “I absolutely think that I will prevail.”