President Donald Trump has proven time and again that loyalty to him won't be reciprocated if it involves any risk to himself, his presidency, or his political palatability.
The latest cautionary tale against blind devotion to the President comes with Georgia's pro-Trump Governor Brian Kemp.
The President spent weeks signifying an eagerness to see economies reopened despite the viral pandemic, saying things would reopen by Easter and even tweeting for Americans to "LIBERATE" states from stay-at-home orders.
In a move that bucked the advice of health experts, Governor Kemp followed Trump's lead and announced that a number of shops and non-essential businesses would be allowed to reopen on Friday, April 24. In the announcement, Kemp echoed Trump's stance that Americans need to get back to work, regardless of their safety.
The problem? Trump changed course later that same day, throwing Kemp under the bus in the process.
Trump said at a Wednesday press conference:
"I told the governor of Georgia, Brian Kemp, that I disagree strongly with his decision to open certain facilities which are in violation of the Phase 1 guidelines for the incredible people of Georgia. At the same time, he must do what he thinks is right, but I disagree with him on what he's doing."
This left Kemp in the unenviable position of having just announced an irrevocable policy change in line with the President's statements, only to have the President turn on him.
Kemp tried to save face with a series of tweets after Trump condemned his move to reopen.
But it was too late: Trump had already made Kemp his fool—and people weren't sympathetic.
Kemp is most famous for not resigning as Georgia's Secretary of State during his 2018 campaign for Governor, essentially overseeing his own election. His office purged an estimated 340,000 Georgians from voter rolls, primarily in communities most likely to vote for his opponent, Stacey Abrams. Abrams lost by fewer than 55,000 votes.
People couldn't help but wonder how Abrams's leadership would've differed from Kemp's in such a crisis, and lamented that Kemp's reliance on voter suppression worked.
Earlier this month, Kemp revealed that he hadn't known the virus could be transmitted through asymptomatic carriers—a fact that had been widely known for weeks.
For more information about the toxicity of allegiance with Trump, check out Everything Trump Touches Dies, available here.