Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp is letting his fellow Republicans know exactly how he feels about the future of the GOP. During a prepared speech in Lexington, Virginia, on Saturday (Feb. 17), Kemp voiced his frustration with the current direction of the party and – without mentioning his name – appeared to throw shade at former President Donald Trump. Here’s what he said!

1. Results, Not Personalities

Kemp was speaking to a group of students who were partaking in the 28th Washington and Lee University Mock Convention – a quadrennial event (every four years) designed to ‘accurately replicate the Nominating Convention of the party out-of-power in the White House.’ This year’s cycle is a Republican cycle.

Source: Flickr/Don Irvine

“This election should be about results, not personalities. It should be about the future of our country, not a race to the bottom,” Kemp said – adding that voters aren’t fully convinced the GOP can solve their problems. “Because if this general election becomes a debate about who can outlast the other 80-year old politician, the American people lose.”

2. Present Solutions, Not Oppositions

Kemp also criticized Republicans for their lack of a constructive agenda – arguing that they’ve been spending too much time opposing everything President Joe Biden does. “Our message to voters must be about what we’re going to do for the country if they give us the keys back to the White House,” he added.

Source: Jessica Mcgowan

He went on to call for a more positive approach to governing – demanding the Republican party put forward a ‘positive vision for the future to the American people.’ It’s something he knows this GOP can achieve, but he says it has to start with Republican governors across the country.

3. Stand Up To Extremist Factions

Kemp’s next call to action was aimed at his fellow Republicans who refuse to stand up to Donald Trump and his extremist ways – arguing that a lot of them are only doing it out of fear. Again, he didn’t explicitly name Trump, but it was clear who he was talking about.

Source: Flickr/Gage Skidmore

“I’ve been there, folks, and I’ve lived to tell the tale. Because at the end of the day, this election is not about any one person, politician or political issue,” Kemp said. He added that Republicans shouldn’t fear any backlash from major news outlets for opposing extremist factions – signaling that it’s the right thing to do.

4. Move Past The 2020 Presidential Election

The 2020 Presidential Election saw Joe Biden defeat Donald Trump by 74 Electoral College votes and more than seven million total votes – he won the popular vote by 4.5%. After the loss, Trump infamously called it a rigged election and convinced his supporters that it was stolen from them.

Source: Flickr/Victoria Pickering

Now that it’s 2024 and we’re in a new election cycle, Gov. Brian Kemp wants Republicans – especially Trump supporters – to leave it in the past. He also urged the students that the election wasn’t stolen. “The fact is, the voters who will decide this race for the presidency are tired of hearing about 2020,” he said.

Donald Trump Facing Criminal Charges In Georgia

For those who missed it, Donald Trump is currently facing 14 felony charges in the state of Georgia for his role in trying to overturn the election. Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis opened the investigation in Feb. 2021 and presented the evidence to a grand jury – who approved the indictment in August 2023.

Source: Flickr/Gage Skidmore

It’s unclear when the case will move forward in court. Donald Trump has spent the past six months delaying the proceedings with allegations that Willis had a romantic relationship with a special prosecutor, who she hired to work on the case.

Trump Wanted Kemp To Help Reverse The Election

The two key players in the case are Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp and Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. In December 2020, Trump spoke with both Kemp and Raffensperger over the phone and urged both of them to reverse Biden’s win in Georgia – which netted him 18 delegates.

Source: Flickr/Trump White House Archived

He told Raffensperger to ‘find’ 11,780 votes’ (enough to give Trump a win) and told Kemp to call a ‘special election’ – which Kemp refused. He also requested that the Georgia Gov. order an audit of absentee ballot signatures – and, again, Kemp refused. This is when Trump started turning on Kemp.

Kemp Says Georgia’s Election Wasn’t Stolen

In August 2023, Donald Trump took to his social media platform to further his claim that the Georgia election was stolen, but Brian Kemp wasn’t about to let him go there. He responded on X less than 30 minutes later and publicly denounced Trump’s rhetoric and beliefs.

Source: Flickr/World Economic Forum

“For nearly three years now, anyone with evidence of fraud has failed to come forward – under oath – and prove anything in a court of law. Our elections in Georgia are secure, accessible, and fair and will continue to be as long as I am governor,” he wrote – adding that the election ‘was not stolen.’

Doesn’t Believe In Presidential Immunity

Trump’s 14 felony charges in Georgia aren’t the only felonies on the former President’s plate right now. In fact, he’s currently facing 91 felony charges in four different states. But if you ask Trump, he’ll tell you the same thing every time – he’s innocent because he has ‘presidential immunity.’

Source: Wikimedia/Gage Skidmore

Not in Kemp’s eyes. “My personal opinion is, no one is above the law,” Kemp said to ABC News a week ago – again, urging Americans to focus on the future. “You know, I’ve continued to talk about following the law and the Constitution and that’s what I’m going to continue to do in the great state of Georgia.”

Kemp Hasn’t Said If He’ll Endorse Trump Or Not

It’s unclear if Brian Kemp would support Donald Trump, should he win the Republican nomination. He said he would in Sept. 2023 – arguing that Trump ‘would still be a lot better than Biden.’ But a lot has happened since then, and he hasn’t come out and said for sure who he’ll support.

Source: Susan Walsh

What we do know is that Trump is almost a lock as the Republican candidate, which means we’ll likely have a Trump-Biden rematch. If that happens, there’s no telling what way it might go. Trump still has a lot of support, but he hasn’t really expanded his base over the past four years. We’ll see if that changes.