President Trump met Sunday in the White House with Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp and the governor’s preferred pick to fill the state’s Senate seat, Atlanta businesswoman Kelly Loeffler, according to The Wall Street Journal. The private meeting ended quickly, sources familiar with the meeting told the Journal, as Trump told Kemp that he would be taking a risk by appointing the politically untested businesswoman. At one point, the president questioned why they were even holding the meeting at all if Kemp had already made his decision. Trump has previously urged Kemp to appoint Republican Rep. Doug Collins, a vocal supporter of the president during the House impeachment inquiry, to fill the Senate seat that Sen. Johnny Isakson is leaving at the end of the year due to health problems. Kemp has resisted the pressure from Trump, instead aiming to lean towards appointing a female or minority candidate, according to the Journal’s sources.
During the Sunday meeting, Kemp told the president that he was open to his opinion, according to the sources. The Georgia governor reportedly kept the secret meeting from some top aides, while Trump also did not disclose the meeting to senior White House aides. The two men spoke again by phone on Monday, according to people familiar with the call. The governor’s team has discussed announcing the decision after the Thanksgiving holiday. Under Georgia law, the governor picks an interim senator, who then has to seek election in the next general election for the remainder of the term.