Subtlety might not be West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice’s forte.
The Democratic governor publicly presented a tray of actual bull manure Thursday in the state capitol as he announced his veto of a Republican-backed budget package – leaving no doubt what he thinks of it.
In a piece of political theater that frankly stunk, Justice held his news conference standing over three covered serving trays. He lifted their silver lids one by one, as he explained their contents.
“We don’t have a nothing burger today, and we don’t have a mayonnaise sandwich today. We all should take ownership for this,” he said, after displaying those metaphors in food form.
The governor then went for the shock effect, lifting the lid of the third tray.
“What we have,” Justice said, “is nothing more than a bunch of political bull you-know-what.”
He looked up and the audience could see literal bull---- heaped on top of budget documents.
“And for that very reason, I’m signing my veto on the budget bill,” he added, as the crowd applauded and politely chuckled.
The governor later tweeted the video, saying this is what people get when “legislators play politics with the budget.”
When our legislators play politics with the budget, the people of WV get a pile of bull-💩. We deserve a budget that takes us to prosperity. pic.twitter.com/b34o5Azyxb— Governor Jim Justice (@WVGovernor) April 13, 2017
The budget itself had been approved last weekend by the Republican-controlled Legislature.
It would cut spending for state colleges and universities and Medicaid for low-income residents. It also would apply $90 million from the state's rainy day fund to close a projected budget deficit.
Justice has proposed smaller cuts plus increases in sales and gasoline taxes.
According to the Charleston Gazette-Mail, House Speaker Tim Armstead chided the governor for vetoing a “responsible budget” and said many of his members oppose the calls for tax hikes.
He also called the dung prop “insulting to the people of West Virginia.”
And let’s not forget: Pity the aide who was responsible for rustling up the props.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.