Politics

Republicans and Democrats are fundraising on the back of Gov. Matt Bevin’s controversial comments in which he predicted that conservatives might have to “shed blood” if Democrat Hillary Clinton is elected president.

Bevin sent out an email Thursday asking followers to donate to his campaign account after a national response to the speech. In the email, he derided Clinton supporters and the “liberal media” for being in an “uproar” over the remarks, which he drew from a quotation by Thomas Jefferson.

“It goes to show how out of touch liberals are with our principles and values when they take offense to statements by our founding fathers,” Bevin wrote in the email. “We must fight to preserve the exceptionalism and the promise of America, because America is worth it.”

Bevin could pass along any funds raised to the state Republican Party, local legislative races or use the money to pay down his campaign debt. The governor personally loaned his campaign $4.1 million during last year’s gubernatorial race.

Bevin’s campaign treasurer told The Courier-Journal earlier this month that Bevin hasn’t drawn any campaign funds to pay down his personal debt.

The Kentucky Democratic Party also sent out a fundraising email after the speech, asking supporters to donate to help the party “stand up to this reckless governor.”

“This rhetoric is a dangerous effort to intimidate Kentucky voters, and is an abuse of power from the highest office in Kentucky’s Executive Branch,” Kentucky Democratic Party Chairwoman Sannie Overly said in the email. “Inciting fears of war and violence in an effort to gain political power is shameful.”

In his speech made at the Value Voters Summit on Saturday, Bevin said some Americans might have to physically fight as a last resort if Clinton is elected president.

“I want us to be able to fight ideologically, mentally, spiritually, economically so that we don’t have to do it physically, but that may in fact be the case,” he said.

Bevin went on to predict that the blood of “patriots,” “tyrants,” audience members and future generations might be shed to help the nation recover under a Clinton presidency.

“It breaks my heart to think that it might be their blood that is needed to redeem something, to reclaim something, that we through our apathy and our indifference have given away,” Bevin said.

Bevin has since said the comments weren’t in reference to domestic fighting or a literal revolution, but rather were about the fight against Islamic extremism in the Middle East.

The comments have drawn national attention. In Kentucky, 6th Congressional District candidate Nancy Jo Kemper, a Democrat, called for Bevin to be impeached for the remarks. Democratic Senate candidate Jim Gray called for Bevin to apologize.

Ryland Barton is the Managing Editor for Collaboratives.