The 70-year-old Republican governor ended his State of the Union televised address on Thursday night by lifting his British bulldog and turning its back on its back in front of the cameras and the 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 of Delegates gallery included lawmakers, state Supreme Court justices, agency chiefs, and members of the Justice Coach women’s high school basketball team, who were in the process. sitting in the showroom.
Midler hit back in a tweet with state ratings from an unnamed source showing West Virginia near the bottom in health care, education and the economy. The dog can make a better governor, Midler said, though she used a stronger word than that.
Not everyone enjoys Justice. In a tweet, West Virginia Democratic Representative Shawn Fluharty called the governor’s move “shameful and offensive to office.”
“@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 to the rest of America who want to move forward, not back down, like his state, is appalling.” Midler tweeted. “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.
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https://abc13.com/west-virginia-governor-jim-justice-dog-bette-midler-wv-hiney/11520096/ West Virginia Governor Jim Justice hugs his pet dog, tells Bette Midler to kiss its ‘hiney’ in response to December tweet: Video