CHARLESTON, W.V. (WOWK) – West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice had a message for West Virginia’s critics — and specifically singer Bette Midler — at the 2022 State of the State address on Thursday.
During his sixth State of the State address, Justice outlined several recent accomplishments in West Virginia, including the addition Nucor steel-production facilities in the state. But it was the end of his speech that some will likely find controversial, even though it received a standing ovation from the West Virginia Legislature.
Justice concluded his 2022 State of the State address by picking up Babydog, his bulldog, and turning her rear end to the audience: “Babydog tells Bette Midler and all those out there, kiss her heinie.”
Justice singled out Midler, presumably, because of the critical comments she made about West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin on Twitter in Dec. 2021.
“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. He sold us out. He wants us all to be just like his state, West Virginia. Poor, illiterate and strung out,” Midler tweeted.
She later apologized to the residents of West Virginia, blaming the outburst on her anger toward Manchin.
Justice had previously responded to Midler’s comments during one of his COVID-19 press conferences, calling them “cruel” and “unfair.”
“You know, we’ve had a struggle, just like anybody’s had a struggle, but just think about what we’ve done,” Justice said. “In the last few years, we have become the diamond in the rough that everybody’s missed. We have the four most beautiful seasons on the planet. Absolutely, we have the very best people, and I would welcome you to come and see these people. See these people that really care. People that love and appreciate what others by what they do.”
In the wake of Justice’s “heinie” comment on Thursday, Midler once again took to Twitter to call out West Virginia’s leadership.
“BTW, here are the state rankings of all the areas and agencies for which the so-called ‘Governor’ of WVA, #JimJustice, is responsible,” she wrote, referring to an attached screengrab from U.S. News and World Report which ranked West Virginia as 47th overall in its 2021 list of “Best States.”
“Judging from these rankings, I’d say his dog’s a– would make a better Governor than him!” Midler wrote.
Justice’s full speech can be seen here.