Georgia Republicans are shielding Fulton County District Attorney Fani T. Willis from attempts to remove her from office and other political threats after Willis indicted former President Donald Trump related to his efforts to overturn the election results in the state. The protection stems from a desire by establishment Republicans to avoid damaging Georgia’s reputation and potentially hurting business in the state, the New York Times reports. “They know that if they went after her, there would be national press berating them as being a bunch of far-right nuts,” said Roy E. Barnes, a moderate Democrat who served as governor from 1999 to 2003. “And that’s the last thing they want to do. They want to say, ‘Listen we can run this state, we can take stands that keep us prosperous.’” One Trump-backed state senator was kicked out of the Republican caucus for demanding his colleagues call a special session to consider firing or defunding Willis.
Georgia Governor Brian Kemp has called efforts to remove Willis from office as “political theater that only inflames the emotions of the moment.” Republicans in the state have held the governorship for the last two decades by distancing themselves from the more extreme elements of their party and focusing on business-friendly policies. But Kemp’s position on Willis has opened him up to criticism from hardline Trump supporters. “I think they’re cowards,” Debbie Dooley, a prominent Georgia conservative activist aligned with the Tea Party movement, said of Mr. Kemp and other establishment Republicans. “She should be investigated and removed from office.”