Vice President Mike Pence arrived in metro Atlanta Friday where he dined with Gov. Brian Kemp and took part in a roundtable with restaurant executives impacted by the coronavirus shutdown.
Pence, aboard Air Force Two, landed shortly after 11 a.m. at Dobbins Air Reserve Base in Marietta.
From there, Pence had lunch with Gov. Brian Kemp at Star Cafe in northwest Atlanta to talk about how the state’s reopening processes has gone.
“I asked what their specialty was, they said the meatloaf and the pulled pork. I said ‘Sounds good’”, Pence said to a chuckling crowd at the Waffle House headquarters in Norcross.
Pence, Kemp and Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia met with the Waffle House CEO and local restaurant executives for about an hour.
“”We just appreciate the help and the feedback that we’ve gotten from the private sector that helped us write guidelines to safely reopen businesses,” Pence said. He said businesses have two duties: “Reopen safely and put people back to work, but we also to keep following the guidelines.”
Waffle House CEO Walt Ehmer welcomed the vice president and gave him a gift of ties with a “WH” logo he hoped he’d take back to President Donald Trump.
Ehmer offered sobering news on how Waffle House fared the last two months, saying the company lost 80 percent of their business.
“We simply didn’t have the resources to take care of our own people,” he said. “And that’s a devastating feeling to have.”
Ehmer later said 70 percent of their business is back and they’ve rehired 2,000 people.
Pence told the crowd he’s been a Waffle House regular his whole life and said he’s been inspired by others while leading the White House coronavirus task force.
“Because of what you’ve done, we are now in a position to open up America again. In that respect Georgia is leading the way,” Pence said. “I have to tell you the president and I could not be more proud or more grateful for the clear , courageous, principled leadership of Gov. Brian Kemp.”
Following the roundtable, the Pence motorcade returned to Dobbins ARB to return to Washington, D.C.