Protesters hang Beshear in effigy, sparking bipartisan rebukes

Protesters hung Gov. Andy Beshear in effigy from a tree across from the governor’s mansion and took their demonstration to its front porch, prompting objections from Kentucky politicians of both parties Sunday.

The event started as a Second Amendment rally “but turned into a protest of coronavirus restrictions and Beshear’s administration,” reports Sarah Ladd of the Louisville Courier Journal. “As the rally wound down, organizers led the remaining crowd to the governor’s mansion to attempt to hand deliver a request for Beshear to resign. . . . No one came to the door. A few Kentucky state troopers got out of their cars to observe but did not attempt to stop the crowd. It’s not clear if Beshear was at home at the time. The crowd returned to the capitol, at which time an effigy of Beshear was hung from a tree outside the Capitol while ‘God Bless the U.S.A.’ played over the loudspeaker.”

The effigy bore a sign saying “Sic semper tyrannis,” Latin for “Thus ever to tyrants,” the state motto of Virginia and the words John Wilkes Booth reportedly said after assassinating President Abraham Lincoln in 1865. “After hanging for a short time while people snapped photos,” Ladd reports, “it was cut to the ground.” But it brought objections from some protesters, and from politicians of both parties.

“I condemn it wholeheartedly,” Secretary of State Michael Adams, a Republican, said on Twitter. “The words of John Wilkes Booth have no place in the Party of Lincoln.”
State Senate Minority Leader Morgan McGarvey, D-Louisville, called on Republican leaders to “join me in condemning violent threats against any elected official.”
Sen. Whitney Westerfield, R-Hopkinsville, who narrowly lost the 2015 attorney general’s race to Beshear and has been one of his most frequent critics, replied, “Agreed, @MorganMcGarvey. This awfulness has no place in civil society.”

Senate Majority Leader Damon Thayer, R-Georgetown, tweeted, “These actions are reprehensible. I absolutely condemn violence and threats of violence. If you want to protest, do it peacefully and respectfully.”