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“I’d say his dog’s — would make a better Governor than him!” the “Wind Beneath My Wings” singer tweeted, along with an unsourced chart showing the state ranking near the bottom on education, health care, infrastructure and the economy, compared to other states.
Justice’s remarks were a response to a previous Midler tweet, in which she called the state “poor, illiterate and strung out” over her frustration with U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, a West Virginia Democrat who essentially sunk his party’s voting rights bill by refusing to go around the Senate filibuster. Midler later apologized for the tweet after a backlash.
“I apologize to the good people of WVA for my last outburst,” she wrote online Dec. 20. “I’m just seeing red; #JoeManchin and his whole family are a criminal enterprise. Is he really the best WV has to offer its own citizens? Surely there’s someone there who has the state’s interests at heart, not his own!”
Midler also retweeted posts that said “Here we can see a dog’s ——-. Right next to it is the butt of Jim Justice’s dog” and “Way to go, Jim Justice! Nothing like proving Bette Midler right on national television. Did you REALLY show us your dog’s ——-? REALLY? Thanks for conforming to all our worst stereotypes about Southern dum— men.”
Justice said in his speech that people had doubts about his state before his dig at Midler, which prompted a standing ovation.
“They never believed in West Virginia. They never believed in West Virginia — that we could do it,” he said, touting the state’s accomplishments, including two recently announced economic development projects.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.