CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Gov. Jim Justice has a message for singer and actress Bette Midler, who called West Virginians “poor, illiterate and strung out” in a tweet after Sen. Joe Manchin refused to support President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better Act.
The 70-year-old Republican governor ended his televised State of the State address Thursday night by lifting up his English bulldog and flashing its rear end to the cameras and crowd.
Justice had spent more than an hour touting the state’s accomplishments, including two recently announced economic development projects.
“Absolutely too many people doubted us,” he said. “They never believed in West Virginia. … They told every bad joke in the world about us.”
The crowd in the House of Delegates gallery included lawmakers, state Supreme Court justices, agency heads and members of the high school girl’s basketball team Justice coaches, who were sitting in the gallery.
Not everyone was amused. In a tweet, West Virginia Democratic Del. Shawn Fluharty called the move “embarrassing and beneath the office.”
“The @WVGovernor brought his Babydog and pony show to the State of the State and pulled this stunt as some bold statement. It was nothing short of embarrassing and beneath the office,” he said. “Jim Justice habitually lowers the bar of our state. They don’t laugh with us, but at us.”
“What #JoeManchin, who represents a population smaller than Brooklyn, has done to the rest of America, who wants to move forward, not backward, like his state, is horrible,” Midler tweeted. “He sold us out. He wants us all to be just like his state, West Virginia. Poor, illiterate and strung out.”
The Associated Press sent an email to Midler‘s publicist Friday requesting comment.
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