Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said Friday that he won’t be bullied by the protesters who hung an effigy of him from a tree during a Second Amendment rally at the state Capitol on Sunday.
“I’m not going to be afraid. I’m not going to let these folks bully me or bully the state of Kentucky,” the Democratic governor told CNN’s John Berman on “New Day.”
Beshear condemned the actions of the small group of protesters who he said were part of the militant right-wing group, the Three Percenters, as “vile,” “wrong” and “evil.”
“With everything going on in the country, I know this is one day of me seeing hate, fear and a direct attempt to create terror for a small minority to get their way,” the governor told CNN. “But I also note that that image is something that was also meant to be a message to others that had to feel that same type of fear and terror, maybe even their whole lives.”
The effigy hung Sunday outside the governor’s mansion had a note around its neck with the Latin phrase “sic semper tyrannis,” which roughly translates to “thus always to tyrants.” Generally attributed to Brutus, the phrase was shouted by the assassin John Wilkes Booth when he shot President Abraham Lincoln and is also the state motto of Virginia.
Though the rally was centered around exercising Second Amendment rights, the protesters also opposed the governor’s response to the coronavirus which included a stay-at-home order and other restrictions.
Beshear said that despite the threat of the effigy he saw as “a celebration of assassination,” he’s committed to his state’s coronavirus response.
“I’m committed to doing what I can to address this healthcare inequality moving forward, and I will not let these folks that want to ultimately try to force or pressure and really create fear and terror, which is what they’re doing, to make us do the wrong things. They will not intimidate me or us,” Beshear said.
The man who hoisted the effigy, Terry Bush, confirmed to CNN that he was fired from his job this week.
CNN’s Hollie Silverman and Rebekah Riess contributed to this report.