Republican Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin last week came under heavy criticism when he said teachers in his state who walked out of school for one day to protest state education funding were responsible for all children who were sexually abused by their parents in their absence.
“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,” Bevin said. “I guarantee you somewhere today, a child was physically harmed or ingested poison because they were left alone because a single parent didn’t have any money to take care of them.”
Now Bevin has posted a video on YouTube in which he tries to walk back his comments, although he didn’t apologize for them — rather, he said he regretted that people seem to have misinterpreted his remarks.
“For those of you understanding what I’m saying, thank you, I appreciate that you do,” he said. “But clearly, a tremendous number of people did not fully appreciate what it was I was communicating or what it was I was trying to say. I hurt a lot of people, many people have been confused or hurt, or just misunderstand what I was trying to communicate.”
Bevin then took personal responsibility for the way that his words were interpreted.
“I apologize for those who have been hurt by the things that were said, it was not my intent whatsoever,” he said.
Bevin’s video so far has not been well received, as it has gotten only 16 “likes” compared to 112 “dislikes” on his YouTube page as of this writing. Additionally, Bevin’s tweet of his apology has been hammered by some Kentucky residents who think he was being disingenuous by saying his words were merely misinterpreted.
Check out the video — and some top reactions — below.
It is my responsibility to represent you, not only when I’m speaking to you but also when I’m speaking on your behalf. It is not my intent to hurt anyone…but to help us all move forward. We need each other. We’re in this together. #WeAreKY https://t.co/2MzQaoJGNk
— Governor Matt Bevin (@GovMattBevin) April 15, 2018
Please God don’t ever speak on my behalf. You’ve made national news with your embarrassing remarks. Please stop talking. Thanks.
— Cosmic Wrangler (@CosmicWrangler) April 15, 2018
No one was “confused” by what you said. People were appalled because they understood it perfectly. #resign
— Reverend Pete Jones (@PrsbyPastorPete) April 15, 2018
Please don’t speak on my behalf. You do not represent me or the thousands of Kentucky teachers lining the Capitol steps on Friday. An apology is only as good as the action behind it. Show us something different, Governor Bevin. Show us some respect.
— Andi (@acpreston_7) April 15, 2018
I’m a die hard Republican but every ounce of my being regrets voting for you.
— Chris Richter (@Crichter1218) April 15, 2018
I believe you intended to offend teachers, and as a teacher, I was offended. So your communication was effective and not misunderstood. I will never forget your degrading speech about education to educators during the ceremony for teaching awards. I heard you loud and clear.
— EKUFIWinslow (@EKUFIWinslow) April 15, 2018
What a fake apology. It’s the listener’s fault for hearing what you said. A true leader would say “I messed up. Here’s my letter of resignation. I have brought shame on the office and have offended the citizens of the Great Commonwealth of Kentucky. My intent was evident.”
— Robert Paugh (@RobertPaugh) April 15, 2018
3:48 of you basically saying, "I apologize for getting caught on camera saying my true thoughts."
— el chacko (@ChiggityChack) April 15, 2018
While you were writing that, I guarantee someone was sexually assaulted.
— Kevin Dwyer (@KevDwy) April 15, 2018