Kentucky governor looks for last-minute boost from Trump

Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin address the audience before the start of a rally for President Donald Trump in Lexington, Kentucky, Monday, Nov. 4, 2019. (AP)
Updated 05 November 2019

Kentucky governor looks for last-minute boost from Trump

  • Trump, who easily carried Kentucky in winning the presidency in 2016, declared that Bevin’s reelection Tuesday would send a signal to the country
  • Bevin sounded confident about his prospects for a second term and said the president’s eleventh-hour appearance would give him a boost

LEXINGTON, Kentucky: Republican Gov. Matt Bevin basked in the campaign finale he craved Monday evening, receiving a ringing endorsement from President Donald Trump hours before voters settle Kentucky’s closely watched governor’s race between Bevin and Democrat Andy Beshear.

The boisterous rally at Rupp Arena reinforced one of Bevin’s main campaign themes — his alliance with Trump, whose popularity surpasses the governor’s in the bluegrass state.

Trump, who easily carried Kentucky in winning the presidency in 2016, declared that Bevin’s reelection Tuesday would send a signal to the country and his political adversaries.

“Tomorrow, Kentucky has a chance to send the radical Democrats a message, you will vote to reject the Democrats’ extremism, socialism and corruption and you will vote to reelect Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin, who’s done a great job,” the president said.

Beshear, the state’s attorney general, spent the day campaigning in western Kentucky. The presidential rally didn’t throw Beshear off his strategy of making the race about state issues. The challenger stuck to his themes of improving public schools, creating better-paying jobs and protecting health care and public pensions.

“People try to distract us with national issues and get us thinking about things other than our well-being,” Beshear said in a Monday radio interview on WKDZ. “Our families should be doing so much better. And I’m going to make sure they do.”

Beshear wrapped up a long day of campaigning with a final stop in Louisville, where he needs a strong turnout Tuesday. He played up his support for public education, telling the crowd: “Are you ready to fight for teachers? Are you ready to beat Matt Bevin? Me too!“

While Bevin reveled being in the media glare of Trump’s visit, Beshear’s campaign pointed to the get-out-the-vote effort by Democrats built over months of work by volunteers. Beshear’s campaign said Monday that a milestone was reached when Beshear knocked on the one millionth door in the Democratic grassroots campaign asking people for their votes.

The contest is being watched for early signs of how the increasingly partisan impeachment furor in Washington might impact Trump and other Republican incumbents in 2020. Among those with an especially keen interest: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who’s on the ballot himself next year in Kentucky.

McConnell took the stage Monday night in his home state to praise Trump’s efforts to reshape the federal courts by appointing conservatives to the bench.

Bevin sounded confident about his prospects for a second term and said the president’s eleventh-hour appearance would give him a boost.

“I think we’re going to win, regardless,” the governor told reporters. “I think we’ll win even more, with this kind of wind in our sails.”

Pointing to Bevin’s conservative credentials, Trump praised the governor’s opposition to abortion, his support for gun rights and his tough stance against illegal immigration.

Trump teased that Bevin is “such a pain” when advocating for Kentucky’s interests in Washington, adding: “Isn’t that really what you want in a governor?“

Beshear accused Bevin of dividing people, pointing to the governor’s feud with teachers who opposed his pension and education proposals. Beshear promised to be a governor who “listens more than he talks, who solves more problems than he creates and would never engage in the type of bullying and name calling we’ve seen.”

Bevin regularly sought to hitch himself to Trump’s popularity throughout the campaign — a strategy intended to rev up his conservative base. It was on full display Monday night.

Continuing his strategy of nationalizing the race, Bevin urged Kentucky voters to send a message to congressional Democrats advancing the impeachment of the president. He said they were making “a mockery of the political process.”

On the gun issue, Bevin lashed out at so-called “red flag” laws, which allow courts to issue temporary orders barring someone from possessing guns based on a showing of imminent danger. Such laws might be “safe sounding” but infringe on rights, he said.

It’s one of many sharp differences between the campaign rivals. Beshear calls such a measure a step toward greater public protection. He said it’s consistent with his support for gun rights but gives due-process rights to the person seen as a risk.

In the campaign’s closing days, Beshear downplayed the spillover effect from Trump’s rally into voting the next day across the bluegrass state.

“This race isn’t about what’s going on in the White House, it’s about what’s going on in each and every home across Kentucky,” Beshear said. “And our voters know that a governor can’t impact federal-type issues.”


UK to deploy military to prevent migrant Channel crossings

The Royal Navy has been deployed as recently as January 2019 in an attempt to reduce the number of refugees and migrants arriving to the UK via the English Channel. (Reuters)
Updated 10 August 2020

UK to deploy military to prevent migrant Channel crossings

  • French parliamentarian called the plans a “political measure” that would not help the situation.
  • Roughly 4,000 people have made the dangerous trip from France to the UK so far this year.

LONDON: The UK has announced it will use the military to prevent migrants entering the country from France via the English Channel, but the plans have drawn criticism from French politicians and rights groups in the UK.

More than 4,000 people have successfully made the crossing so far this year, and many of those have done so in small and overburdened boats.

Responding to the escalating number of people attempting the journey, the Home Office officially requested last week that the Ministry of Defence (MoD) assist the Border Force in its duties.

Home Secretary Priti Patel said her department was “working to make this route unviable” and announced on Sunday the appointment of a former Royal Marine to manage the government’s response to the crossings.

In response to Patel’s request, the MoD announced on Monday that it would send a Royal Air Force plane with spotters on board to assist the Border Force in its operations in the English Channel.

But the issue has caused tension between the UK and France.

The French National Assembly member for Calais, Pierre-Henri Dumont, slammed the decision to use the military to prevent crossings as a useless “political measure.”

He said: “What is the British navy going to do if it sees a small boat? Is it going to shoot the boat? Is it going to enter French waters? It’s a political measure to show some kind of muscle but technically speaking it won’t change anything.”

Paris has also requested that London provides £30 million to fund French efforts to prevent migrants from attempting the dangerous crossing from their side.

Patel’s decision to use the military to prevent Channel crossings has also drawn condemnation from human rights groups.

Bella Sankey, a barrister and director of Detention Action said: “The home secretary’s hysterical plea to the navy is as irresponsible as it is ironic. Pushbacks at sea are unlawful and would threaten human lives.

“No civilised country can even consider this, let alone a country with a tradition of offering sanctuary to those fleeing persecution,” she added.

Migration has long been a hot button issue in British politics, and this will not be the first time authorities have used the military to enforce migration policies.

In January 2019, the Royal Navy sent three ships to the Channel to prevent migrant crossings, saying at the time that the deployment would “help prevent migrants from making the dangerous journey.”