Actress and singer Bette Midler hit back at Jim Justice, the Republican Governor of West Virginia, after he told her to kiss his dog's "hiney" during his State of the Union address.
Earlier, Justice, in response to a since-deleted tweet from Midler referring to West Virginians as "poor, illiterate and strung out," criticized her and his state's critics for telling "every bad joke in the world about us."
Hoisting up his dog, he said:
"Babydog tells Bette Midler and all those out there, kiss her hiney."
Midler responded shortly afterward, informing her substantial social media following that West Virginia ranks very low on numerous quality of life indicators.
The data, retrieved from US News & World Report, ranks particularly low on matters concerning health care, education, and the economy, with middling scores elsewhere. Perhaps most strikingly, the state ranks dead last among all 50 states regarding infrastructure.
Noting that Justice, bears responsibility for the performance of state agencies in his capacity as Governor, Midler suggested that West Virginia's rankings show that Justice's "dog's ass would make a better Governor than him!"
In November 2021, the Senate gave bipartisan approval to a $1 trillion infrastructure bill, part of efforts from Democrats to respond to the climate crisis, invest in infrastructure and expand education, health care and childcare support.
West Virginia is bound to benefit enormously from this influx of funds, though negotiations over the bipartisan measure were particularly sensitive in light of Republican concerns about the bill's size and scope. Ultimately, Shelley Capito, the state's Republican Senator, was placed in charge of discussions concerning an infrastructure compromise.
The bill was scaled down to $1 trillion from $3.5 trillion, a decision that received pushback from Democrats and activists within the state.
Many concurred with Midler's assessment.
Justice has defended his remarks, telling reporters that he doesn't "like people making bad comments about West Virginia." He added that if critics "cast rocks at my West Virginians, I’m going to cast rocks back, like it or not like it."
Justice said that he has not heard from Midler since making his remarks though he noted he would welcome her should she choose to come to West Virginia.