Kentucky's Republican Gov. Matt Bevin said America is "getting soft" for closing schools due to sub-zero temperatures, and his comments triggered the ire of a host of critics — even perennial nice guy meteorologist Al Roker of MSNBC, WHAS-TV reported.
Bevin appeared on Terry Meiners' Louisville radio show Tuesday and threw some shade at Kentucky public schools, as nearly all of them were closed.
"Now we cancel schools for cold?" Bevin asked — to which Meiners responded, "It's a deep freeze! This is serious business."
But Bevin seemed unmoved. "C'mon now, there's no ice going with it or any snow. I mean, what happens to America? We're getting soft, Terry, we're getting soft," he said.
While the governor added that he was being facetious and that "it's better to err on the side of safe," WHAS noted he also said "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."
What was the reaction?
Robin Cochran, superintendent for Washington County Schools in Springfield, had fun with Bevin — sort of.
Matt Bevin can just call me Pillsbury DoughGirl cause I’m soft like that. But PS Matt, my kids are safe. 🙄 https://t.co/4cxw2ZbhqW— Robin Cochran (@Robin Cochran)1548806715.0
"Matt Bevin can just call me Pillsbury Dough Girl, cause I'm soft like that," Cochran tweeted. "But PS Matt, my kids are safe." She added what appear to be "eye roll" emoji.
MSNBC's Roker called Bevin a "nitwit governor" for his comments. "These are kids who are gonna be in sub-zero wind chills. No, cancel school. Stop it." Roker torched the governor with a final jab: "I'm glad you're not a teacher."
.@AlRoker has zero patience for “nitwit governor” @GovMattBevin who said Kentucky is soft for closing schools out o… https://t.co/cfHxQEI7m6— American Bridge (@American Bridge)1548870523.0
Amy McGrath — a former Marine fighter pilot and candidate for Kentucky's 6th Congressional District, WHAS said — tweeted that "this guy probably has no idea that many kids walk to school."
This guy probably has no idea that many kids walk to school. https://t.co/9KNP5JIojz— Amy McGrath (@Amy McGrath)1548811154.0
Democratic candidate for governor Adam Edelen called Bevin's comments "dumb and mean," The Associated Press said.
And Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear said Bevin's words "are another example of how he's unfit to serve as governor," WHAS reported.
This hasn't been the first time Bevin's words got under people's skin. He apologized last year after he suggested children left home alone during teacher protests could have been exposed to sexual assault or accidental poisoning.