Kentucky Governor Matt Belvin apologized this week for comments he made implying that the teacher protest in his state led to child abuse. Sort of. In the face of a mounting backlash, Belvin posted a video on YouTube Sunday in which he expressed regret for his controversial statements. Although even in regret, he still managed to pin blame on others for not understanding the point he was making, despite the fact that he didn’t mince words in the least.
“Clearly a tremendous number of people did not fully appreciate what it was that I was communicating,” Bevin said in the pre-recorded video. “Many people have been confused or hurt or just misunderstood what it was that I was trying to communicate. That’s my responsibility ― it truly is. And I apologize for those who have been hurt by the things that were said.”
Belvin has found himself in hot water since last Friday when, during an impromptu press conference in response to teachers rallying at the Kentucky State Capitol building, he boldly declared that children had been sexually assaulted or physically harmed that day because they weren’t in school. He offered a lot of guarantees.
“I’m offended by the fact that people so cavalierly, and so flippantly, disregarded what’s truly best for children,” Belvin said in the news conference. “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.”
Belvin managed to take his already contentious comments a step further when he outright suggested that teachers protesting state-wide cuts in education funding were causing children to suffer from sexual assault, violence, and drugs.
“As surely as we’re having this conversation, children were harmed, some physically, some sexually,” He said. “Some were introduced to drugs for the first time because they were vulnerable and left alone. It’s offensive. It really is.”
Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin on the teacher rallies today. “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.” pic.twitter.com/Q4PpzFsTt2
— Marcus Green (@MarcusGreenWDRB) April 13, 2018
Kentucky teachers are protesting massive cuts in the state’s education budget and changes to teachers’ pensions. And while they returned to school on Monday, many are reportedly considering a larger and longer protest ⏤ similar to Oklahoma and West Virginia ⏤ if their demands for fair pay and a healthy budget are not met. It’s unclear whether Bevin’s ‘apology’ has been accepted by the teachers or if his statements and pseudo-apology have poisoned the negotiations for the foreseeable future.