Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) will appoint Republican donor and political newcomer Kelly Loeffler to his state's vacant Senate seat, despite being pressured by President Donald Trump and his GOP allies to go a different direction, the Associated Press reported Monday.
Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.), a staunch defender of the president and the top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, was Trump's preferred choice for the seat that is being vacated by Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) due to health concerns.
On Monday, the same day the report came out, Trump praised Collins on Twitter for his work refuting the impeachment inquiry.
Loeffler, is co-owner of the Atlanta Dream of the WNBA and is the CEO of Bakkt, a financial services firm that offers a regulated market for Bitcoin.
In her application for the Senate opening, Loeffler vowed to support the president and "Keep America Great," Politico reported of the political outsider.
But many Republicans are not convinced about her alleged conservative credentials or her support for President Trump and believe the defiant appointment could set up a GOP clash when the seat comes up for election in November 2020.
In a November meeting among Loeffler, Kemp, and the president, Trump allegedly pointed out that Loeffler had not initially backed his 2016 presidential campaign.
In an interview on "Fox News Sunday," Collins did not shut the door on running against Loeffler if she were to be chosen to fill the seat.
Trump allies pressured Gov. Kemp
Trump's congressional allies also pressured Gov. Kemp to tap Collins in the lead-up to his decision.
Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) had been particularly outspoken, threatening a primary challenge against Kemp in 2022.
In another tweet, Gaetz responded to Kemp's assertions of being pressured by the political establishment, saying it's not the establishment that Kemp is hurting, but the president.
Gaetz also reminded Kemp of Trump's last-minute endorsement in 2018 that aided his primary victory.
According to Politico, Kemp adviser Ryan Mahoney fired back with a tweet of his own, telling Gaetz to "mind [his] own business."
"Inquiring minds want to know if you prefer flat front jorts, pleated jorts, or cargo jorts with room to put all of your Legos, Pokémon cards, and jellybeans," he tweeted. "We don't know you and we don't care what you think."