Ky. governor-elect slams ‘overtly racist’ refugee cartoon
© Getty Images

Kentucky governor-elect Matt Bevin (R) is publicly bashing a cartoon that attacks his hesitancy toward resettling Syrian refugees.

“Shame on the Lexington @HeraldLeader for publishing a deplorable, overtly racist attack on my children,” he tweeted Thursday.


“The tone of racial intolerance being struck by the @HeraldLeader has no place in Kentucky and won’t be tolerated in my administration,” Bevin wrote.

The Lexington Herald Leader published an editorial cartoon Thursday satirizing Bevin’s stance on Syrian refugee resettlement in Kentucky. It shows the governor cowering under his desk while an aide waves a family picture at him.

“Sir, they’re not terrorists … they’re your own adopted kids,” the image’s caption says. Bevin has nine children, four of whom he adopted from Ethiopia, the Lexington Herald Leader reported Thursday.

The controversial drawing also features a map of Syria and a newspaper referencing Paris, the site of a major terrorist attack last week.

Cartoonist Joel Pett — who created the illustration — defended his work in a statement Thursday.

“Chalk [it] up to inexperience on his part,” he said of Bevin, who was elected to office earlier this month and takes office on Dec. 8.

“The fact that he adopted children from Africa, a continent whose promise and challenges I routinely draw about, is the thing I admire the most about Bevin,” Pett wrote in an op-ed for his employer further explaining his cartoon.

“I did use the fact that he has children from another country in a piece designed to express outrage over a legitimate hot-button issue,” the artist added.

President Obama’s plan for resettling 10,000 Syrian refugees within the next year across the U.S. is currently battling heavy opposition.

At issue is whether terrorists would use the influx of refugees as a cover for infiltrating and attacking the U.S.

Bevin announced earlier this week he favors a “vigilant” screening of refugees for extremists before admitting any into Kentucky.

Outgoing Gov. Steve Beshear (D-Ky.) has said his administration would allow in refugees who have been screened.

More than half of the nation’s governors have moved to at least pause Obama’s plan following last week’s massacre in Paris that killed more 120 people and wounded more than 300.

Reports have since emerged that at least one attacker infiltrated Europe by using a Syrian passport, though other reports have said it was likely stolen or forged.