Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin is taking heat amid the deep freeze after he told a local radio show Tuesday that seemingly increasing school closures for weather are a sign “we’re getting soft.”
Bevin was discussing the polar vortex sweeping across the Midwest with 840 WHAS’ Terry Meiners when he suggested that closing schools simply because it’s cold sends the wrong message to students.
“Now we cancel schools for cold? I mean …,” Bevin said.
“It’s a deep freeze!” Meiners shot back. “This is serious business.”
“C’mon now, there’s no ice going with it or any snow,” Bevin said. “I mean, what happened to America? We’re getting soft Terry, we’re getting soft.”
Bevin clarified that he was “being only slightly facetious,” but reiterated his point.
“It’s better to err on the side of safe, but it does concern me a little bit that in America, on this and a number of any other fronts, we’re sending messages to our young people that if life is hard, you can curl up in the fetal position somewhere in a warm place and wait until it stops being hard and that just isn’t reality,” he said.
The comments prompted an immediate backlash from Bevin’s critics.
Adam Edelen, a Democrat running for governor, called Bevin’s comments “dumb and mean,” WKRC reports.
Robin Cochran, superintendent for Washington County Schools, weighed in on Twitter with a video of the Pillsbury Dough Boy.
Matt Bevin can just call me Pillsbury DoughGirl cause I’m soft like that. But PS Matt, my kids are safe. 🙄 pic.twitter.com/4cxw2ZbhqW
— Robin Cochran (@robinc5) January 30, 2019
“Matt Bevin can call me Pillsbury Dough Girl, cause I’m soft … But P-S Matt, my kids are safe,” Cochran tweeted.
Amy McGrath, a candidate for the state’s 6th congressional district, also took aim at Bevin on Twitter.
This guy probably has no idea that many kids walk to school. https://t.co/9KNP5JIojz
— Amy McGrath (@AmyMcGrathKY) January 30, 2019
“This guy probably has no idea that many kids walk to school,” she wrote.
.@AlRoker has zero patience for “nitwit governor” @GovMattBevin who said Kentucky is soft for closing schools out of concern for children’s safety in this extreme cold weather. #KYGov pic.twitter.com/E4js6J7Xt6
— American Bridge (@American_Bridge) January 30, 2019
MSNBC meteorologist Al Roker called the governor a “nitwit” during his Wednesday segment.
“I just have to say this nitwit governor in Kentucky saying that ‘oh, we’re weak’ – these are kids that are going to be in sub-zero wind chills,” Roker said. “Cancel school, stop it.”
Roker also offered a little message to Bevin: “I’m glad you’re not a teacher,” he said.
Others wished harm on the governor.
Lt. Gov. Jenean Hampton, who Gov. Bevin dropped from reelection ticket last week, “liked” this tweet pic.twitter.com/We8I3THKJK
— Ryland Barton (@RylandKY) January 30, 2019
Shannon Booth posted to Twitter: “I hope Matt Bevin’s car won’t start tomorrow morning and he’s locked out of his house with nowhere to go. Yeah, I said it.”
— LG Jenean Hampton (@LtGovHampton) January 30, 2019
Lt. Gov. Jenean Hampton, who Bevin recently dropped from his re-election campaign, reportedly “liked” Booth’s tweet, though she later alleged it was an accident.
“For the record, I UNINTENTIONALLY hearted a tweet that was derogatory to @GovMattBevin,” she wrote. “I don’t pile onto mean-spirited tweets! #FatThumbs”