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Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp warns GOP not to get "bogged down" in Trump indictment

Kemp focus is on Georgia amid GOP primary
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp not planning to run in 2024, but 'always doors opening and closing' 20:47

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, who has tried to steer the Republican Party away from Donald Trump, called the latest charges against the former president a "distraction" from issues that he says presidential candidates should be talking about. 

"For us to win the presidential race in 2024, we don't need to be distracted," Kemp told CBS News' Robert Costa in an interview on Monday. "We need to be focused on the future. We need to be telling the American people what we're for." 

"President Trump has been targeted in a lot of different ways — many of them unfairly," he added. "But also I think there's some serious concerns in this indictment. But at the end of the day, there's a jury that's going to make that decision. And quite honestly, I think it's a distraction politically. I think in some ways it's exactly what the Democrats want." 

Kemp said Republican candidates should be focused on issues like inflation, crime and border security, arguing that voters care more about those issues than the accusations against Trump. 

"That's really what I believe Republicans need to stay focused on, and not get bogged down in the politics of this indictment," he said. 

Kemp defied the former president by refusing to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election in the state as Trump falsely claimed he won. When Trump congratulated North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un in a recent social media post, Kemp responded: "Taking our country back from Joe Biden does not start with congratulating North Korea's murderous dictator." 

"The reason I was critical of President Trump is because I think he needs to stay focused just like anybody else running for president on tackling those issues," Kemp told CBS News. "I don't think, ya know, congratulating Kim Jong Un is that kind of play that helps us win in November of 2024." 

Kemp said any candidate hoping to win the swing state of Georgia must focus on the future. 

"I think any politician that's running can be beaten and any politician that's running can win," he said. "If you're going to win at the end of the day in November, you better be focused on the future and you better be telling people what you're for." 

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