UPDATE(6/04/20 11:29 a.m.)
CHARLESTON, W.Va. – During his Thursday virtual news briefing, West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice was asked if he had “given more thought to what presidents you would welcome to West Virginia?”
Gov. Justice doubled down on his explanation of his Wednesday comments about former President Barack Obama that they were related to the Obama administration’s stance on coal. “My comments has nothing whatsoever, in any way, to do with skin color. My comments have everything to do with policies,” Justice said. The governor continued: “President Obama the person is welcome here, but President Obama’s war on coal will never be welcome here.” You can watch the governor’s full comments on the issue below:
ORIGINAL STORY(6/03/20 4:16 p.m.)
CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Governor Justice issued a statement Wednesday afternoon, addressing a comment he made during his daily press briefing earlier in the day. While discussing a phone call with President Trump, he joked that all presidents were welcome in West Virginia, except for “maybe Barack Obama.”
In his statement, the Governor says he just wants to “love everybody, and by that, I mean everybody, including President Obama.”
The full statement reads:
During his latest daily press briefing, Gov. Jim Justice fielded a question regarding a phone call that he had taken today with President Donald J. Trump.Governor Jim Justice
In mentioning all of the economic goodness his personal friendship with President Trump has brought to the state, Gov. Justice made a remark in jest that all presidents were welcome in West Virginia, except for “maybe not Barack Obama.”
After a few politically-motivated individuals began questioning the tone of the comment, Gov. Justice provided clarification that the remark was made specifically in regard to the effect that the Obama Administration’s War on Coal had on the West Virginia economy from 2008-2016:
“Everyone knows that President Obama made it a specific strategy to destroy our coal industry and power plants which, for more than a century, had been the lifeblood of West Virginia’s economy,” Gov. Justice said after Wednesday’s briefing. “Before you know it, West Virginia was brought to our knees, especially southern West Virginia. I hated that so badly because the good people of West Virginia suffered beyond belief.
“I want to love everybody, and by that, I mean everybody, including President Obama,” Gov. Justice continued. “But, at the end of the day, what happened to West Virginia during his time in the Oval Office will take us decades and decades to recover from, if ever.”
You can watch the full press conference here.