West Virginia Gov. Justice holds up dog during speech, suggests Bette Midler, 'Kiss her heinie'

"Babydog tells Bette Midler and all those out there: Kiss her heinie," West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice said.

Updated: January 28, 2022 - 4:58pm

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West Virginia GOP Gov. Jim Justice has given an unusual response to Bette Midler's recent criticism of his state – bringing his pet dog to a public event this week and suggesting the entertainer "kiss her heinie." 

"Babydog tells Bette Midler and all those out there, 'Kiss her heinie,' " Justice said Thursday during his annual State of the State address while holding up his English bulldog and showing her rear end to the audience. 

"Absolutely too many people doubted us," he continued. "They never believed in West Virginia. ... They told every bad joke in the world about us."

In December, Midler tweeted an insult to the state in response to West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, a Democrat, not voting for his party's $2 trillion "Build Back Better" agenda. 

"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 apologized to West Virginians later that day, tweeting, "I apologize to the good people of WVA for my last outburst. I'm just seeing red; #JoeManchin and his whole family are a criminal enterprise. Is he really the best WV has to offer its own citizens? Surely there's someone there who has the state's interests at heart, not his own!"

On Friday, Midler responded to Justice's antics, tweeting, "BTW, here are the state rankings of all the areas and agencies for which the so-called 'Governor' of WVA, #JimJustice, is responsible. Judging from these rankings, I'd say his dog's ass would make a better Governor than him!"