CHARLESTON, W.VA. Governor Jim Justice sent a message to singer and actress Bette Midler, who called West Virginians “poor, illiterate, and destitute” in a tweet after Sen. Joe Manchin refused support President Joe Biden’s Building Better Back Act.
The 70-year-old Republican governor ended his State of the Union address on Thursday night by lifting his British bulldog and shining his tail at the camera and crowd.
“Babydog said to Bette Midler and all the people out there: Kiss her,” Justice said, grinning as everyone clapped and some applauded him.
Justice spent over an hour showcasing the state’s achievements, including two recently announced economic development projects.
“Absolutely too many people doubt us,” he said. “They never believed in West Virginia. … They told all the funny stories in the world about us.”
The crowd in the House gallery included lawmakers, state Supreme Court justices, agency heads, and members of the Justice Coach girls’ high school basketball team, who were seated. in the showroom.
Not everyone is interested. In a tweet, Del. Shawn Fluharty, a West Virginia Democrat, brought in the governor.
“@WVGovernor brought his Babydog and pony show to the State of the State and took this as a bold statement. It was nothing short of embarrassing and offensive to the office,” he said. “Jim Justice often lowers the limits of our status. They laugh not at us, but at us.”
Manchin, a Democrat, has effectively implemented his party’s $2 trillion domestic policy initiative, which will pour billions of dollars into childcare, childcare health and other services.
“What .JoeManchin, who represents a population smaller than Brooklyn, has done for the rest of America who want to move forward, not backward, like his own state, is appalling. terrible,” Midler wrote on Twitter. “He sold us out. He wanted all of us to be like his state, West Virginia. Poor, uneducated, and miserable.”
After receiving backlash, Midler apologized to “the good people of WVA” for her “outrage” in a follow-up tweet later that day.
The Associated Press sent an email to Midler’s journalist on Friday requesting comment.