State Sen. Ed Setzler, R-Acworth, came to the Cobb County Republican Party’s monthly breakfast meeting to deliver a speech on the national debt and how the U.S. should act on the world stage.
But when he opened it up for questions, the animated audience had other topics on their minds.
One questioner asked why Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, who’s prosecuting a case against former President Donald Trump, is still in power.
“We have a Republican governor, a Republican legislature, and they’re not doing anything to help Trump,” the questioner said, noting the exception was state Sen. Colton Moore who advocated impeaching Willis.
“I don’t know what’s wrong with (Gov.) Brian Kemp,” the questioner continued. “Frankly I don’t know what’s wrong. He says he’s a Christian. When is he going to act like a Christian?”
Cobb GOP Chair Salleigh Grubbs told Setzler that they feel abandoned in Cobb County.
“We feel abandoned because when it came to the home rule provision with the attorney general’s office, Cobb County’s on its own,” Grubbs said. “The governor is not getting involved. There’s so many things that we feel like we’re on an island in Cobb County, and we run up the flag, and it’s the distress signal, and trust me Ed, I love you. You’re one of my favorite people, not only as a legislator, but as a friend, but we feel like we’re alone, and we feel like there’s nobody fighting for us.”
A similar theme came from audience member John McLean, who was there with his wife, Kathy. McLean said he lost count of how many times he’s come to such events and been told Republicans must come together.
“But while I’m being told we got to come together, I see the Republican caucus remove somebody they disagree with — in secret,” McClean said. “ … The other thing is we’ve got the governor of the state of Georgia that obviously can’t accept any criticism, and so he’s kicked the (state) GOP to the curb. We’ve got a supposed Republican secretary of state that’s AWOL and won’t commit to upgrading the voting machines. And whether we want to agree that there’s enough fraud in the election — there’s fraud — whether there was enough fraud in the election to overturn the election, there’s a certain percentage of Republicans and people in this room, I’m assuming like me, that are suspect of those voting machines he won’t upgrade.”
McLean said he wants to stay on the team and be committed, but he said he doesn’t see Georgia’s Republican leadership doing the same.
“We’ve got home rule being challenged in Cobb County and our attorney general is AWOL. He’s filed an amicus brief, but that’s not enough. We’ve got the Board of Education, the county Board of Education that’s decided not to defend their map. I just don’t get it, and I don’t see Republicans doing enough,” he said.
Setzler asked the audience if he had permission to tell the truth. Yes, the crowd answered. He then referenced the infamous September 2021 resolution in which the Cobb GOP censured Kemp. Ever since that censure took place, neither Kemp nor other statewide elected officials such as Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr have appeared at a Cobb GOP breakfast. (They do attend the meetings of Cobb County Republican Women’s Club, which is a separate organization run by club president Nancy Couch.)
- Note from D.A.: I was happy to write the Cobb resolution in question and praise the Cobb GOP members who passed it.
“When a party organization, you may think you’re justified, when a party organization formally and in writing censures a sitting governor from their own party in a rebuke, I can guarantee you what that means. Your party organization’s voice vanishes,” Seltzer told the crowd. “That was, in my opinion, one of the most strategically ill-informed decisions I’ve ever seen since I’ve been associated with the Cobb County Republican Party. And (you) might have even been right. That doesn’t even mean whether you’re right or wrong on the issue. Set that aside. But when parties rebuke in writing and resolution their own sitting governor — you have every right to do that, but when you feel like your voice isn’t there anymore, you have only yourself to blame.”
Setzler said on top of that, it makes it difficult for him, state Sen. Kay Kirkpatrick, R-east Cobb, and others to advocate for Cobb County when the county party makes such a move.
Grubbs replied that there is “a culture of distrust” that exists in Georgia, which she said is bigger than the governor or legislature. As a member of the Georgia Republican Party’s executive committee, Grubbs said there is infighting on that board.
“Because it’s like, ‘Well you’re on (Georgia GOP head Josh McKoon’s) side. Or you’re a mole or you’re this or you’re that.’ And what that tells me is that an effective leader addresses the issue, and says, ‘It was a censure. I understand. I heard you. Let me tell you why that’s a problem, and let’s move past it.’ But here we are almost three years later, and we’re still having that conversation. And if you’re in a marriage … and you have a problem in your marriage, ‘Well, three years ago, you did not load the dish washer properly, and I’ve told you how to do it, and so now I’m divorcing you.’ You know, it’s insane, it’s immature, and it’s childish to not deal with issues and move on past it for the sake of America. This is not just Georgia we’re talking about. It’s the sake of America,” she said to applause.
Setzler responded by observing how they were certainly addressing the issue out in the open.
“It’s being aired out. We’re airing it out today. We all have roles. I think Salleigh’s role is extremely important, prominent. The work you put in is just stunning to me, I so, so appreciate that. I mean that not to be trite,” Setzler said.
However, he continued, “The Cobb County Republican Party as an organization is going to need to address that with our governor and his folks. When you have both collectively addressed that to all sides’ adequate satisfaction it will then be addressed.”
Read the entire write-up here.