Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin apologized Sunday for remarks he’d made previously, saying that children had been sexually abused because of a teachers’ strike in the Bluegrass State, Yahoo News is reporting.
In a four-minute video posted Sunday night, Bevin referenced comments he’d made last week following a contentious voting process meant to address the teachers’ strike. Bevin was given a tax bill and an operating budget that would have directed more money towards public education. Bevin vetoed both bills, but as ABC News reports, the Kentucky legislature overrode both of those vetoes.
It was then that Bevin claimed that the teachers’ strike had led to children being left alone at home and that all manner of terrible things befell them.
“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. I guarantee you somewhere today a child was physically harmed or ingested poison because they were home alone because a single parent doesn’t have any money to take care of them. Some were introduced to drugs for the first time — because they were vulnerable and left alone.”
Almost immediately, Bevin and his remarks were sharply criticized, according to the Louisville Courier Journal.
Students were sexually assaulted and used drugs because teachers protested, Kentucky governor sayshttps://t.co/Cj341fNdT5
— TIME (@TIME) April 14, 2018
J.P. LaVertu, a Shelby County teacher, called the Republican governor a “disgrace.”
“For the governor of the state of Kentucky to come out and basically say teachers are responsible for children being molested — are you serious? He’s a disgrace to our state.”
Kentucky Education Association President Stephanie Winkler found herself at a literal loss for words.
“There is no rational comment I could make to that.”
Democratic Rep. Attica Scott, of Louisville, called on Bevin to resign.
Even some fellow Republicans were shocked by Bevin’s remarks. Republican Max Wise, the Kentucky Senate’s Education Committee chairman, called them “repulsive,” according to CNN.
“I don’t agree with these comments & I find them repulsive.”
The Kentucky legislature, for its part, enacted two resolutions condemning Bevin for his remarks.
In his apology, Bevin claimed that he was “misunderstood.”
“It’s my responsibility to represent you, not only when I’m speaking to you, but when I’m speaking on your behalf in ways that are clear, that are understood, that don’t hurt people and don’t confuse people.”
Unfortunately for Bevin, his apology has failed to find resonance.
Robin Cooper, an occupational therapist in Fayette County, claims that Bevin’s apology was little more than an act of self-defense.
“Seriously? That’s not much of an apology. I think he’s gotten so much heat that he had to say something. But it still wasn’t an apology. It was still him defending his words.”
Similarly, House Minority Floor Leader Rocky Adkins wasn’t impressed, either.
“The teachers and public employees he has insulted over the past year deserve much more than this.”
Teachers in Kentucky are joined by colleagues in Oklahoma, West Virginia, and other states, who have gone on strike to demand higher pay and better working conditions.