KENTUCKY (FOX19) - Gov. Matt Bevin (R-Kentucky) sparked controversy Tuesday when discussing school closings during an interview.
Schools across the state, largely in the Tri-State area, announced they would close their doors Wednesday due to dangerously cold weather conditions.
Wind chills are projected to remain between 30 and 40 degrees below zero in open areas with Wednesdays' high at only 6 degrees.
Drivers also saw dangerous road conditions due to snow squalls and plummeting temperatures that were cold enough to freeze the salt road crews use to treat the ice.
Wednesday’s wind chills will be dangerous and cold enough to cause frostbite with exposure times as brief as 10 minutes.
In an interview with 840 WHAS Radio in Louisville, Bevin scoffed at the idea of closing schools for what referred to as ‘cold.’
“Now we cancel school for cold? I mean there’s no ice going with it, or any snow. What happens to America? We’re getting soft Terry, we’re getting soft,” Bevin told radio host Terry Meiners, according to WAVE3.
WAVE3 said he added: “It’s better to err on the side of being safe, and I’m being only slightly facetious -- but it does concern me a little bit that in America, on this and any number of other fronts, we’re sending messages to our young people that if life is hard, you can curl up in the fetal position somewhere in a warm place and just wait 'til it stops being hard. And that just isn’t reality.”
Bevin also told the host he hoped schools are conserving heat and energy if they’re closed.
The Kentucky Education Association responded to Bevin’s comments on Twitter saying they support decisions made for the health and safety of Kentucky’s children.
House of Representatives Minority Leader Rocky Adkins (D-Kentucky) also expressed his thoughts on the governor’s comments.
Adkins, who recently launched his bid for the Democratic nomination for the 2019 gubernatorial race, did not mince words.
“The governor doesn’t understand public education and he is out of touch with everyday families. It’s about the safety of Kentucky kids,” Adkins said on Twitter.
Gov. Bevin has yet to respond to criticism of his comments.
This is not the first time Bevin’s comments caused controversy regarding Kentucky education.
In April, the governor sparked outrage after he said teachers who called out sick to protest Bevin’s pension and budget bills were putting children’s lives in danger.
“You know how many hundreds of thousands of children today were left home alone?” Bevin asked. “I guarantee you somewhere in Kentucky today a child was sexually assaulted that was left at home because there was nobody there to watch them.”
Teachers responded by organizing a campaign to “Black Out” the governor’s words. They wore all black and used the hashtag #BlackOutBevin on social media to express their disappointment.
Bevin’s comments sparked backlash and responses from the Kentucky Attorney General, The Senate and House Democratic Caucuses, GOP Senator Damon Thayer, and KEA President Stephanie Winkler.
Bevin apologized for his comments regarding sexual assault without ever explicitly mentioning them in a video posted to his Twitter days later.
He appeared to attribute the negative response to his comments to a misunderstanding saying the way people interpreted them or the way he said them led to unintended consequences.
The governor later said he took responsibility for his words.
Bevin is currently running for re-election in Kentucky’s 2019 Gubernatorial race.
Democratic challengers include Adkins and Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear.