Political leaders in Kentucky denounced protesters as “sickening” and “terrible” after they hanged Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear, a Democrat, in effigy at the state capitol on Sunday.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said that Americans have the right to peacefully protest, but added that the protesters’ “actions were unacceptable. There is no place for hate in Kentucky.”
The state’s Republican Attorney General, Daniel Cameron, called the hanging “sickening,” while state Rep. Joni Jenkins, the Democratic floor leader, called it a “terrible, terrible act.”
Video showed a man in military-style fatigues tying a doll with a photo of Beshear’s face attached to it and a noose around its neck to a tree. In video published by a local freelance journalist, Gerry Seavo James, the song “God Bless the USA” can be heard playing in the background.
A sign affixed to the doll’s shirt says “Sic semper tyrannis,” or “thus always to tryants.”
The gathering began as a Second Amendment rally, but morphed into a protest against coronavirus public health measures, NBC affiliate WLEX reported.
“Doing this in front of our Capitol, just a short walk from where the Governor, First Lady, and their two young children live, is an act that reeks of hate and intimidation and does nothing but undermine our leading work to battle this deadly disease and restore our economy safely,” the House Democratic leadership said in a statement to WLEX.
In a Facebook live video, James said the hanging occurred near the end of the protest, when an organizer told him and a few other reporters that he had something for them to see.
“They got to their truck and they pull out this plastic bag,” James said. “It’s governor Beshear.”
Beshear has not commented on the protest.