ATLANTA (AP) — Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp is making his third foreign trip since his re-election, leaving Tuesday to visit the nation of Georgia and then France to represent the state in aerospace recruiting at the Paris Air Show.
Republican Kemp will be out for nearly two weeks as his administration says he will be the first US governor to visit the nation of Georgia, located in the Caucasus region of southern Russia and northern Turkey.
The country has been a hotspot of conflict, with Russian forces invading in 2008 to support separatists in the breakaway regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. The United States Armed Forces of the Georgia National Guard has a long history of training the armed forces of the Georgian nation.
It’s Kemp’s fifth overseas trip as governor and his third in less than six months as he seeks to build his foreign policy resume. The second-term Republican governor is trying to raise his profile and distance his party from former President Donald Trump, despite saying he won’t run for president in 2024.
The taxpayer cost of the trip is not immediately available.
“Our National Guard has been there for a long time,” Kemp told reporters Monday in Atlanta. “It’s a very important region of the world for the national security of the United States. We’re going to have a lot of people there training like we’ve done in the past. And so I think it’s important to us to really go out there and learn and show our support while we’re so close.
Kemp intends to meet Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili, accompanied by, among others, Major General Tom Carden of the Georgia National Guard. Kemp also plans to visit a humanitarian shelter built by the Georgia National Guard and meet with members of the Marietta, Georgia Fire Department who provide water rescue training.
From there, Kemp plans to visit the Paris Air Show, which begins June 19. It’s the largest aerospace show in the world, and Kemp said he wanted to showcase Savannah-based Gulfstream Aerospace and other companies.
“There’s a lot of pent-up demand because I haven’t been anywhere for two and a half years because of COVID,” Kemp said Monday. we haven’t been to the Paris Air Show for three years, not Georgia, we have to go this year.’”
In January, Kemp attended the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, saying he presented the state of Georgia’s economic model and met with business leaders. Last month, Kemp spent a week in Israel, meeting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and touring Israeli industries, including cybersecurity facilities.
In 2019, Kemp visited South Korea, where he met with then-Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon and Hyundai Motor Group officials. Last year, Hyundai announced the construction of a $5.5 billion electric vehicle factory near Savannah. In early 2020, Kemp traveled to Germany, a trip officials attribute to his interest in electric vehicles.