Protesters Who Hung Effigy of Kentucky Governor Draw Bipartisan Condemnation

May 25, 2020 Updated: May 25, 2020

Protesters who hung an effigy of Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear at a rally at the state capitol have received condemnation from Republicans and Democrats.

As a Second Amendment rally was being held on May 24 outside the Kentucky state Capitol in Frankfort, a group of protesters hung the effigy on a nearby tree. A sign on the effigy read, “sic semper tyrannis,” which translates to “thus always to tyrants,” a phrase famously used by John Wilkes Booth after he assassinated President Abraham Lincoln.

Kentucky House Democrat leaders condemned the protesters vehemently in a statement.

“Hanging Governor Beshear in effigy is beyond reprehensible,” they wrote. “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.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Kentucky Secretary of State Michael Adams, a Republican, joined the Democrats to denounce the disturbing incident.

“As a strong defender of the First Amendment, I believe Americans have the right to peacefully protest. However, today’s action toward Governor Beshear is unacceptable,” McConnell wrote on Twitter. “There is no place for hate in Kentucky.”

Adams denounced the activities as “disgusting.”

“The words of John Wilkes Booth have no place in the Party of Lincoln,” he said.

It’s unclear if the people who hung the effigy are with an organization and whether the hanging was a planned part of the rally.

Take Back Kentucky, one of the organizers of the rally, said in a Facebook post on May 22 that the rally is “to celebrate freedom, and to fight back against the unconstitutional shutdown over Coronavirus.”

Beshear ordered most businesses to close in March. On May 7, he said that some businesses can reopen gradually starting May 22 with restrictions.

Take Back Kentucky didn’t respond to a request for comment.

A man with a Three Percenter band around his arm helped hang the effigy, the Courier-Journal reported.

Patsy Kays Bush, state secretary of Kentucky 3Pencenters Inc., told the newspaper that she was against hanging the effigy and didn’t want it to hurt the group’s image, but said she supported marching to the governor’s mansion.

Beshear’s spokeswoman, Crystal Staley, condemned the act, saying it was wrong and offensive.

“This type of behavior must be condemned. As Kentuckians we should be able to voice our opinions without turning to hate and threats of violence,” she said.

Follow Allen on Twitter: @AllenZM