CHARLESTON, W.Va. – For the second time in recent months Governor Jim Justice addressed concerns that were voiced on social media, this time about a party hosted at The Greenbrier on New Year’s Eve.
But he feels criticism of the party, which Justice says he was not in attendance, has ulterior motives.
“Let’s just call it what it is …. It’s a hit at me, from the standpoint of a political hit at me. That’s all there is to it,” said Justice when asked about the party. “And primarily driven by some Democrat senators, one right from where The Greenbrier is located.”
Justice, who begins his press briefings each day speaking prior to his colleagues speaking and taking questions from the media, did not address the party or the backlash prior to the media’s ability to ask questions.
“The bottom line is just this, protocols are in place, and I will promise you to God above, the The Greenbrier is absolutely following every protocol that can possibly follow,” said Justice. “I promise you with all in me that if The Greenbrier is doing something that they’re not supposed to do, absolutely that they will have me on them like stink on you know what.”
When later asked about the party, he said, “I’m telling you without any question that The Greenbrier of all places on this planet, over and over and over, I hear from people that have visited The Greenbrier and call me to tell me just how safe, and how many protocols, and on and on and on.”
Criticism of the party, nationally, came in the face of it being a potential “super spreader” of the COVID-19 virus.
Within the state, criticism came in the face of Gov. Justice recently announcing he’s postponed the start of high school winter sports to March 1.
It’s still unclear whether or not the March 1 date means practices won’t begin until then, or if that is the first date competitions can be held for winter sports.
“From the standpoint of us playing sports, we may very well look at March first as the game start date, and we may very well step back and look at conditioning and everything,” said Justice on Monday. “We know one thing for certain, don’t we? We cannot be moving sports ahead of everything, and absolutely starting back playing sports in seven days.”
In response to Justice’s announcement last week, and the subsequent New Year’s Eve party, local athletes and coaches are planning a rally outside the state capitol building on Friday, once again spreading their message with #LetThemPlay.
The time for Justice’s Friday press briefing is still to be determined, and likely won’t be announced until sometime on Thursday. Times for his press briefings during the COVID-19 pandemic are almost always set the day prior to a briefing.
In November, Justice needed to defend himself after a photo of him began circulating on social media that showed him at a college football game without a mask on, despite the number of his mask mandates.
Aside from being the Governor of West Virginia, Justice is also the head coach of the Greenbrier East girls basketball program. He received heavy criticism last February after comments he made following a basketball game against Woodrow Wilson.
Justice often references his status as coach of the Lady Spartans during his press briefings, which he did at the end of his briefing on Monday.
Stay with 12 News and 12 Sports for continued coverage of local sports in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic.