Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin apologized Sunday for saying that children were sexually abused because they were left home alone while teachers rallied to ask lawmakers to override his vetoes, the AP reports. He added that "some were introduced to drugs for the first time because they were vulnerable and left alone." The Republican issued his apology in a nearly four-minute video posted online, saying "it is not my intent to hurt anybody in this process, but to help us all move forward together." On Friday, Bevin's explosive comments were part of his statement criticizing teachers for leaving work to protest at the Capitol. More than 30 school districts closed Friday. Bevin's comments came shortly after Republican lawmakers voted to override his vetoes of an operating budget that included increased spending for public education with the help of an accompanying tax increase.
The apology came after major blowback following the remarks, even from within Bevin's own party. "There are no words for this other than, I am appalled!" President of the Kentucky Education Association Stephanie Winkler responded on Twitter. Republican state Sen. Max Wise called Bevin's words "disgusting" and "reprehensible," and the AP reported that rebukes came from both sides of the aisle in Kentucky's GOP-led House. An online petition also circulated to demand Bevin apologize and state Democratic Rep. Attica Scott is calling for him to resign, the Courier-Journal reports. Kentucky teachers went on strike, as did Oklahoma educators, after West Virginia teachers struck and won 5% raises last month. (Read more Kentucky stories.)