Bevin says Trump “absolutely” credible, reacts to removal of former first lady’s name from education center, lawmaker’s claim of partisan arm-twisting

07/13/2016 06:43 PM

FRANKFORT — Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump is “absolutely” credible for the nation’s highest office, Gov. Matt Bevin said Wednesday.

Compared with President Obama, “it’s not even a comparison,” Bevin said of Trump’s credentials.

But as he’s done in the past, Bevin reiterated his decision against endorsing Trump in his run for the White House.

“What people think of him personally is up to them individually,” Bevin told reporters after a Capitol news conference. “I’ve not endorsed anybody in my entire life ever. I don’t know if you all have noticed that. I’ve gotten grief from it at times from some of you. I’m not an endorsement-type person.”

Still, Bevin offered sharp criticism of presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

“I have no intention, and I’ve been clear about this, of supporting Hillary Clinton,” he said. “I think she would be a disaster not only for Kentucky, but for America.”

He declined to say whether he attended a Trump fundraiser at the Aviation Museum of Kentucky on Monday, saying he has attended numerous such events in the past and does not comment on them. Bevin said he has “gone to fundraisers for many and most of the people who come through our state as political candidates at the national level.”

Asked about the removal of former first lady Jane Beshear’s name from the Capitol Education Center last week, Bevin said he had no idea of the move until he saw it reported in the press.

“I did not,” he said when asked whether he ordered the change. “… It was probably done by the people who do all the administration landscaping, buildings, et cetera.”

Pamela Trautner, spokeswoman for the Finance and Administration Cabinet, declined to specify who directed the education center’s name change, only saying that the cabinet is working on the project to reflect the state’s military history.

“The decision to rename the center was made to honor Kentucky’s military heritage,” she said in an email to Pure Politics. “The goal is to give special recognition to Kentucky’s Gold Star families.”

Bevin also touched on a report by CNHI News in which Democratic state Rep. Kevin Sinnette, of Ashland, accused the governor of attempting to bully him into switching parties to the GOP during a meeting in the basement of the Governor’s Mansion.

The governor made his feelings on the piece and its author, Ronnie Ellis, plain.

“Shame on you for writing such absolute malarkey,” Bevin said to Ellis. “It was an absolute lie. You had no corroboration.”

“I did have corroboration,” Ellis replied.

“You don’t,” Bevin said as Ellis continued. “Anonymous sources? Shame on you. The reality is people lie about things. I absolutely, categorically deny every bit of that drivel. It was partisan, it was pathetic, it was non-corroborated, and it’s a shame you’re not the journalist you once were.”

Sinnette did not return a call seeking comment on Wednesday, but he told CNHI News that his recollection of the meeting with Bevin was accurate.

Kevin Wheatley

Kevin Wheatley is a reporter for Pure Politics. He joined cn|2 in September 2014 after five years at The State Journal in Frankfort, where he covered Kentucky government and politics. You can reach him at kevin.wheatley@charter.com or 502-792-1135 and follow him on Twitter at @KWheatley_cn2.

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