Kentucky governor apologizes for saying teachers’ strike left children vulnerable to harm, sexual assault and drugs
Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin issued an apology Sunday for remarks he made Friday that suggested a state-wide teachers’ strike left schoolchildren vulnerable to harm, sexual assault and drugs, saying his remarks had “unintended consequences.”
“Many people have been confused or hurt or just misunderstand what it was that I was trying to communicate,” Bevin said in a video posted to his Twitter page.
“For those of you who have been hurt, it is my absolute, sincere apology to you,” Bevin said. “It is not my intent to hurt anybody in this process but to help us all move forward together. We need each other. We’re in this together. We are Kentucky.”
The Republican governor made the controversial comments to reporters Friday afternoon, according to CNN affiliate WDRB.
Expressing concern for schoolchildren who were unable to attend school on Friday because of the strike, Bevin said: “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 didn’t have any money to take care of them,” he said, adding that “somewhere introduced to drugs for the first time because they were vulnerable and left alone.”
His remarks faced harsh criticism from both Democrats and Republicans, with Republican state Sen. Max Wise, who serves as the chamber’s Education Committee chairman, calling them “disgusting” and “reprehensible.”
“I don’t agree with these comments & I find them repulsive,” Wise said Friday on Twitter.
In his apology video, Bevin thanked people who “understood what I’m saying.”
But, he said, “The responsibility for communicating things falls on the person, in large measure, who’s doing the speaking. Sometimes, when I’m doing that I do it effectively. Sometimes, not so much, and I think this case is an example of the latter.”
By Devan Cole