West Virginia Governor Jim Justice responded Wednesday on Fox News Primetime to the attacks on his state and its Senior Senator, Joe Manchin.
Justice, a Republican who switched from Democratic affiliation to former President Trump in 2017, also said the party he was once a member of looked very different from what it was.
Actress Bette Midler attacked Senator Manchin and her home state of West Virginia, calling its residents “poor, illiterate and tense,” while Representative Jamaal Bowman, D-NY, called Manchin a racist and xenophobic who “don’t care about blacks” or immigrants.
Manchin, who predecessor to Justice, Democrat Earl Ray Tomblin, as governor himself, effectively torpedoed Biden’s “Build Back Better” spending program when he told “Fox News Sunday” that ‘he would not vote for the legislation.
Justice told host Brian Kilmeade that Midler’s attack was “intolerable” – and that the “Beaches” actress doesn’t seem to understand how the state excels in important areas, from jobs to technology through infrastructure.
“Brian, there is no call for this,” Justice said. “In all honesty, it’s not tolerated, it’s just a point.”
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“From the perspective of what Senator Manchin did, he stepped in and echoed the people of West Virginia,” he added. “The people of West Virginia are hard working people. The people of West Virginia know what this country is founded on. It is not based on socialism.”
“It’s not based on promoting something that is going so badly that it doesn’t make sense,” Justice continued. “It’s based on the fact that Americans are not average. And with all of that, through all the decades America has risen to the top, hasn’t it?”
Justice highlighted Charleston’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, where the state government has worked to contain the outbreak at its beginnings, as well as at the economic level through the pursuit of budget surpluses.
“Joe Manchin, we are very proud of his vote and of everything to stop this terrible, terrible carnage which is happening from Washington. But nevertheless, we hope that Joe will stand up,” he added. “And from Bette Midler’s point of view, all I would say is shame on her. I mean really and really”
“[West Virginia has seen] one thing right after another, whether it’s being a leader in tourism, diversification, again and again, “he said.” For Bette Midler, saying that – that’s not all simply not tolerable. “
As some observers have pointed out, the state’s economy is also heavily reliant on the energy sector, particularly the coal industry in areas like Logan, Beckley and Pineville – an industry that often runs up against the politics of the left wing of Manchin’s party.
Justice also spoke about his unique position as a Democrat-turned-Republican in high office, compared to Manchin’s position as one of the last moderate Democrats in the Senate.
“The party that [Manchin] is now no one can understand. I mean, that’s all there is to it, ”he said. “If you look at what’s going on with President Biden, look at what’s going on with the border. Look at what happened in Afghanistan. Look at what’s going on with the crime and watch the explosion – the explosion of inflation that is devouring all of our lives right now. “
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Justice told Fox News that in contrast, his administration will go ahead with an “InflatoCine” – an “inflation vaccination” in which all state employees will receive a 5% pay rise for pointedly countering the rising cost of living under Biden.