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Bevin: Speech Containing Comments About Shedding Blood Was a Warning Against "Apathy"

Kevin Willis

Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin said Wednesday that his recent speech containing remarks about shedding blood was a warning against American apathy.

Bevin made the controversial comments Saturday during a speech in Washington at the Value Voters Summit hosted by the conservative Family Research Council.

During that speech, Bevin said it might be necessary for “patriots” to shed their blood and the blood of “tyrants” if Hillary Clinton is elected president.

Here is some of what Bevin said during his Values Voter Summit speech:

"Somebody asked me yesterday, I did an interview, 'Do you think it’s possible, if Hillary Clinton were to win the election, do you think it’s possible that we’ll be able to survive, that we’d ever be able to recover as a nation?' And while there are people who have stood on this stage and said we would not, I would beg to differ. I do think it would be possible, but at what price? At what price? The roots of the tree of liberty are watered by what? The blood of who? The tyrants, to be sure, but who else? The patriots.

Whose blood will be shed? It may be that of those in this room. It might be that of our children and grandchildren. I have nine children. It breaks my heart to think that it might be their blood is needed to redeem something, to reclaim something that we, through our apathy and our indifference, have given away. Don’t let it happen."

After several Kentucky Democrats criticized Bevin for encouraging political violence, the Republican Governor issued a statement saying his speech was aimed at the dangers of “radical Islamic extremists.”

Speaking Wednesday to the Bowling Green Noon Rotary Club, Bevin said his speech in Washington was targeting the indifference he believes many Americans feel towards the political system.

“We have an opportunity to battle ideologically, politically, spiritually, morally, economically—we have the ability to have these levels of debate. Because, if in fact, we don’t, we will ultimately be forced to fight physically. That’s the point I made. That’s exactly what I said.”

In his Bowling Green speech, Bevin cited the violence in Syria as what can happen when the political process breaks down.

“They are literally physically fighting because they have tried to do it politically, and they’ve tried to do it morally, and they’ve tried to do it religiously, and they’ve tried to do it economically, and they’ve failed. And the net result of failure of diplomatic, and sophisticated, and ideological, and intellectual discussions in conflict—the net result of those failings is always physical,” Bevin said.

Bevin maintained his Washington speech containing the comments about shedding blood has been misconstrued and says anyone worried about what he said should watch the 15 minute speech online:

Democratic Attorney General Andy Beshear issued a statement this week saying it’s “grossly irresponsible” for the Governor to condone violence based on the outcome of an election.

Nancy Jo Kemper, the Democratic nominee for Kentucky’s 6th District U.S. House seat, said Bevin should be impeached.

“I believe that his call to shed the blood of fellow Americans is unconstitutional and a violation of his sworn oath to uphold the laws of the commonwealth,” Kemper said at a Tuesday news conference.

Lexington Mayor Jim Gray, who is the Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate taking on Republican Rand Paul, has called on Bevin to apologize. “Using religion as a tool of violence and frightening people has no place in politics," Gray said in a statement. “Frightened people do dangerous things, and encouraging fear and violence is absolutely wrong.”

Kevin is the News Director at WKU Public Radio. He has been with the station since 1999, and was previously the Assistant News Director, and also served as local host of Morning Edition.
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