Gov. Matt Bevin got his behind kicked by the General Assembly on Friday then turned his anger and disappointment into a harsh tirade against Kentucky’s public-school teachers.
Attacked Saturday by an avalanche of criticism, he tried to apologize Sunday in social media posts but many rejected his statements as insincere.
Typical of the condemnation for his Friday comments linking teacher protests with child sexual assaults was this one by Sen. Max Wise, R-Campbellsville.
“The disgusting comments by Gov. Bevin insinuating that a peaceful protest by teachers would lead to sexual assault are reprehensible. I don’t agree with these comments and I find them repulsive. I disagreed with his radio comments about teachers before and I disagree with these.”
Before Saturday’s adjournment, the House passed two resolutions – one sponsored by Rep. Rocky Adkins, DMorehead – which criticized the governor for his statement that school children were placed in danger when teachers came to Frankfort to protest the budget and pension changes.
Bevin’s incendiary comments to a Louisville TV station
on Friday were: “I guarantee you somewhere in Kentucky today a child was sexually assaulted that was left at home because there was nobody there to watch them.”
Former House Speaker Jeff Hoover described Bevin’s behavior as “Out of control. Unhinged.”
Sen. Whitney Westerfield, R-Hopkinsville, said Bevin had “needlessly and unjustly demonized” the thousands of teachers who went to Frankfort to support better funding of education.
Bevin had been in a battle of words with the Kentucky Education Association during the session, criticizing the teachers’ union and its members of having “a thug mentality”, of being “selfish and greedy” and of demonstrating in Frankfort in order to “hang out” and miss work.
The governor’s outburst came of the heels of the majority Republican lawmakers overriding his vetoes on the budget and revenue bills.
Perhaps the strongest-worded criticism of Bevin came from the House Democratic Caucus: “Governor Bevin is on the wrong side of history, and as his latest outburst shows, he’s also on the wrong side of simple decency.”
In our view, this time it appears the village bully went home with a black eye.