FRANKFORT, Ky. (LEX 18) — Two men who filed a petition to impeach Gov. Andy Beshear are responding after the governor said they had been involved in efforts to intimidate him in the past.
At his briefing Tuesday, Gov. Beshear referenced social media posts by Jacob Clark and said Tony Wheatley's organization, Constitutional Kentucky, had been involved in planning the rally at the Kentucky Capitol where the governor was hanged in effigy and the Saturday rally where armed protesters gathered in Frankfort.
"These people who signed this petition have tried to create terror for me and my familybefore and when that hasn't worked, I guess they're trying something new," Gov. Beshear said.
But Clark and Wheatley have both taken issue with the governor's claims.
Constitutional Kentucky did not sponsor the rally where the governor was hanged in effigy, according to Wheatley. He also distanced himself from the Saturday rally, although at the time he told LEX 18 the organization was a co-sponsor of the event.
"The rally Saturday was not our rally," he said. "I emceed a lot of it but we had nothing to do with it other than introducing the speakers."
The governor referenced a Facebook post shared by Clark that called for the hanging of tyrannical politicians and a video of Clark posted to his "Jacob Clark for Grayson/Hardin County KY District 18 House representative" Facebook page.
In the video, posted in April, a handgun is visible behind Clark and the caption reads in part, "Mr. Beshear should rescind his order to record license plates and force quarantine church goers, or else God may strike him down."
"Pretty sure the statement he was trying to send to me then," Gov. Beshear said during his briefing.
But Clark responded on his candidate Facebook page and called the governor a liar.
"If you listen to the video I make sure to clarify that I do not want any harm to come to him. I even talk about praying for him in the last minute of the video," Clark's Facebook reads in part.
He also adds, "As for the gun, I always have a firearm next to my bed. Some people are scared of them, I guess. Again, I clarified several times that I hope no harm comes to him, and will pray for him. I still will."
Wheatley said he does not approve of violence.
"I do not...ever want to see someone talk about hanging or threatening anybody," he said. "It's not how our society works."
The impeachment petition, he said, is not personal.
"I don't care if he's got an R in front of his name or a D in front of his name," Wheatley said. "If he's violating the constitution it is our right to stand up against that."
A House committee has been formed to consider the petition for impeachment based on the governor's actions during the pandemic.
House leaders have said they're required by law to form a committee but are not required to vote on the petition or take further action.