Appearing on “Fox & Friends Weekend,” Kemp said it was “unfortunate” that the league had “caved to cancel culture” and accused President Biden, Georgia activist Stacey Abrams and “a lot of other people” of lying about the election bill he recently signed into law.
“It’s really a sad day for Major League Baseball,” the Republican governor said. “As somebody that grew up playing baseball as a kid and a fan, played in high school, you know, big Braves fan — I mean, this is terrible for the organization. It’s terrible for the fans. It’s terrible for the small business owners in the metro Atlanta community, and our state that was looking forward to hosting this game and had put a lot of resources into it. All because of a big lie.”
Kemp signed the bill on March 25. The legislation places new restrictions on voting by mail, adds voter ID requirements and limits ballot drop boxes. It also mandates two Saturdays of early voting ahead of general elections, an increase from just one, and leaves two Sundays as optional.
Lastly, it bans outside groups from handing out food or water to those waiting in line to vote.
Critics argue the Republican-sponsored legislation is an attempt to suppress Democratic votes. Biden blasted the law, calling it “despicable” and “un-American” in his first press conference last month.
“This is Jim Crow in the 21st Century. It must end,” he said in a March 23 statement.
In her own statement Friday, Abrams wrote that Republican lawmakers had defended the voting bill “knowing the economic risks” and ” prioritized making it harder for people of color to vote over the economic well-being of all Georgians.”
“I am disappointed that the MLB is relocating the All-Star game; however I commend the players, owners and League commissioner for speaking out. I urge others in positions of leadership to do so as well,” she said. “As I have stated, I respect boycotts, although I don’t want to see Georgia families hurt by lost events and jobs. Georgians targeted by voter suppression will be hurt as opportunities go to other states. We should not abandon the victims of GOP malice and lies — we must stand together.”
Abrams called on Georgia Republicans to “renounce the terrible damage they have cause to [Georgia’s] voting system” and “the harm they have inflicted on our economy.”
Mounting pressure, the statements from Biden and the support of activists such as Abrams led MLB Commissioner Robert Manfred to announce the move.
“Major League Baseball fundamentally supports voting rights for all Americans and opposes restrictions to the ballot box,” he said.
However, Kemp argued — echoing his Friday interview on “Tucker Carlson Tonight” — that the bill “does not suppress anything” and argued that the new law compares favorably to New York.
“We have 17 days of in-person early voting. New York has 10. This bill adds the opportunity for people potentially to vote on two optional Sundays, which would give potentially some counties 19 days,” he told the “Fox and Friends” hosts.
“Are we boycotting them because they’re in New York? No. This is just the cancel culture, and I will tell you, the people at home should be scared because their ballgame is next, their business will be next, their way of life will be next.”
Kemp said Biden wasn’t being truthful and that “suppression” was “just a buzzword” used to “browbeat” CEOs and corporate boardrooms.
“None of them are citing specifics in the bill. If you’ll notice, they’re just saying, you know, ‘This is a step backwards.’ Or, you know, ‘This is wrong.’ Or whatever,” he added. “Like none of them are pointing to specifics in the bill because they know damn well their people were in the Capitol working with us on the bill. They knew what was in it and now their position has changed.”
“Boycott baseball and all of the woke companies that are interfering with Free and Fair Elections. Are you listening Coke, Delta, and all!” he said.
“Well, I think the [former] president — like me — is very frustrated at this canceled culture,” Kemp remarked, noting that the Atlanta Braves organization did not support MLB’s decision and that “even Democrats are coming out saying how wrong it is to move the game.”
He said he would be “glad” to have a discussion with MLB about the issue — a sentiment mirrored by Republican ,Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger — but noted he believes the “playbook for this” was already “written over a month ago” because Democrats like Biden and Abrams thought it was “going to be bad.”
“But, you know, the end result was not because it went through the process. We worked with the House and the Senate with reasonable people, got things in there to provide even more access, but also just make sure that in Georgia it’s easy to vote and hard to cheat. And, I guess they don’t agree with that,” he mused.
Kemp pointed out that the bill had been worked on for more than four or five months and “none of these people” had “said anything.”
“The issues that they did say something about, you know at the end of the day, didn’t end up in the bill which is how the process is supposed to work,” Kemp said. “It’s just so sad for baseball fans that the league has now made baseball in the United States of America so political.”
The governor believes the liberal push to pass HR1, also known as the “For the People Act,” is to blame. The legislation would require all states to offer mail-in ballots and automatic voter registration, among other things.
“This is a political play by the president and Stacey Abrams and a lot of other people that want HR1 one to pass,” Kemp added.
Fox News’ Paulina Dedaj and The Associated Press contributed to this report.