West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice responded Wednesday on "Fox News Primetime" to attacks on his state and its senior senator, Democrat Joe Manchin III.

Justice, a Republican who switched from Democratic affiliation in support of former President Trump in 2017, also said the party he was once a member of appears very different than it used to be.

Actress Bette Midler attacked Sen. Manchin, and his home state of West Virginia, calling its residents "poor, illiterate and strung-out," while Rep. Jamaal Bowman, D-NY, called Manchin a racist and xenophobe who "doesn't care about Black people" or immigrants.

Manchin, who preceded Justice's predecessor, Democrat Earl Ray Tomblin, as governor himself, effectively torpedoed Biden's "Build Back Better" spending package when he told "Fox News Sunday" he would not vote for the legislation.

Justice told host Brian Kilmeade that Midler's attack was "intolerable" — and that the "Beaches" actress appears not to understand how the state is excelling in important fields from employment, to technology, to infrastructure.

"Brian, there’s no call for it," Justice said. "In all honesty, it's not tolerated — just period."


Jerry Falwell Jr. and Jim Justice, Governor of West Virginia. (Ron Agnir/The Journal via AP)

"From the standpoint of what Sen. Manchin did, he stepped up and echoed the people of West Virginia," he added. "The people of West Virginia are hard-working people. The people of West Virginia know what this country is founded around. It’s not founded around socialism."

"It’s not founded by the promotion of something that is so awry that it doesn’t make one bit of sense," Justice continued. "It’s founded upon Americans not being average. And with all of that, through all the decades of time, America has risen to the top, have we not?"

Justice pointed to Charleston's handling of the coronavirus pandemic, where the state government worked to stem the outbreak in its earliest days, as well as at an economic level through continued budget surpluses.

A West Virginia welcome sign greets travelers leaving the East River Mountain tunnel from Virginia, on Interstate 77 northbound near Princeton, W.Va. (Fox News/Charles Creitz)

"Joe Manchin, we are very proud of his vote and everything to stop this terrible, terrible carnage that’s happening from Washington. But nevertheless, we hope Joe stands tall," he added. "And from the standpoint of Bette Midler, all I would say is shame on her. I mean really and truly"

"[West Virginia has seen] one thing right after another, whether it be leading in tourism, diversification, on and on and on," he said. "For Bette Midler to say that — it is just plain not tolerable."

As some observers have pointed out, the state's economy also relies heavily on the energy sector, especially the coal-mining industry in areas like Logan, Beckley, and Pineville — an industry that often clashes with the politics of the left wing of Manchin's party.


U.S. Senator Joe Manchin. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas (Reuters)

Justice also spoke to his unique position as a Democrat-turned-Republican in high office, comparative to Manchin's position as one of the last moderate Democrats in the Senate.

"The party that [Manchin] is in now nobody can understand. I mean, that’s all there is to it," he said. "If you look at what is happening with President Biden, look at what is going on with the border. Look what happened in Afghanistan. Look what’s going on with crime and look at the explosion — the explosion of inflation that’s eating all of our lives right now."


Justice told Fox News that in contrast, his administration will be going forward with an "InflatoCine" — a "vaccination for inflation" wherein all state employees will receive a 5-percent pay raise to ostensibly counter the increased cost of living under Biden.