Kentucky governor apologizes after comments on teacher protests
© Greg Nash

Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin (R) apologized Sunday for suggesting statewide teacher protests exposed children to sexual assault or poison at home.

“I apologize for those who have been hurt by the things that were said,” Bevin said in a video statement. “That was not my intent whatsoever.”

Bevin said his comments came from a place of concern over “unintended consequences” following the teacher protests. 

ADVERTISEMENT

“I guarantee you somewhere in Kentucky today a child was sexually assaulted that was left at home because there was nobody there to watch them," Bevin said Friday. "I guarantee you somewhere today, a child was physically harmed or ingested poison because they were home alone because a single parent didn't have enough money to take care of them."

On Sunday, Bevin said many people misunderstood his comments. 

“Clearly a tremendous number of people did not fully appreciate what it was that I was communicating or what it was that I was trying to say,” Bevin said.

Bevin said he takes responsibility for not making his statement clear enough to understand.

“Many people have been confused or hurt or just misunderstand what it was that I was trying to communicate,” Bevin said. 

Bevin said he has several family members who are public school teachers and said the issue is “near and dear” to him.

“I grew up surrounded by an appreciation that this is not an easy task,” he said of teaching.

Thousands of teachers left their schools last week to push for the state House of Representatives to overturn Bevin’s vetoes on a $480 million tax increase and two-year spending plan.

The Republican-majority House voted to override his vetoes.

Bevin reportedly also complained of the teachers sprawled across the capitol grounds, telling reporters he saw them smoking and "leaving trash around."