Bette Midler continued her spat with West Virginia Governor Jim Justice on Friday by saying that his dog’s “ass” would make a better governor after the Republican used the animal to criticize her.
Justice, a Republican, displayed his dog’s rear end during his state of the state address on Thursday as a rejoinder to critics and said they could kiss his pet’s “hiney.”
The governor’s his fondness for his English bulldog is well-known. He has used the animal—named Babydog—as a means to promote COVID-19 vaccination uptake in his state.
Film legend Midler had apparently angered the governor in a tweet about Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) that was critical of the people of West Virginia.
At the end of his state of the state address, Justice addressed West Virginia’s critics.
“They never believed in West Virginia, that we could do it,” Justice said.
“They told every bad joke in the world about us,” he said. “So following that standpoint, Babydog tells Bette Midler and all those out there, kiss her hiney.”
Justice lifted Babydog up and showed those present the animal’s rear end.
Midler responded to Justice by retweeting some posts criticizing him for the incident involving his dog’s behind before writing a tweet that directly addressed his speech.
She shared a graphic US News and World Report showing West Virginia’s ranking in matters including health care, education and infrastructure. That graphic showed the state’s relatively low rank on a number of issues and overall rank of 47 out of 50.
“BTW, here are the state rankings of all the areas and agencies for which the so-called “Governor” of WVA, #JimJustice, is responsible,” Midler wrote. “Judging from these rankings, I’d say his dog’s ass would make a better Governor than him!”
On December 20, 2021, Midler sent a tweet criticizing Senator Manchin that also took aim at the people of West Virginia.
“What #JoeManchin, who represents a population smaller than Brooklyn, has done to the rest of America, who wants to move forward, not backward, like his state, is horrible. He sold us out. He wants us all to be just like his state, West Virginia. Poor, illiterate and strung out,” Midler wrote.
The actor, who is known for her roles in movies such as Hocus Pocus and Beaches, later tweeted: “I apologize to the good people of WVA for my last outburst” while offering further criticism of Manchin.
Justice may have caused controversy by displaying his dog’s behind but Babydog has acquired minor celebrity status since the governor and his wife first brought her to a press conference last year.
The pudgy pooch was also the face of West Virginia’s vaccination lottery, known as “Do It For Babydog” and justice implored people to get vaccinated against COVID-19 by referencing his pet.
“If you won’t do it for your family, you’ve got to get vaccinated for Babydog. That’s all there is to it,” the governor said last year.