Republican Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin has some advice for all you snowflakes preparing for record-breaking, potentially deadly subzero temperatures sweeping the Midwest and Northeast: “Curl up in the fetal position.”
Bevin joined 840 WHAS radio in Louisville on Tuesday to talk about school closures in his state as the polar vortex unleashed an icy cold front on the Midwest, The Washington Post reports. Though extreme weather has already killed six people in the Midwest, and is making it feel like minus 15 degrees in parts of Kentucky on Wednesday, Bevin argued that public schools that closed in anticipation of the temperatures signaled weakness.
“I mean, what happens to America?” he said. “We’re getting soft.”
The governor tried to qualify his comments, saying, “I do appreciate it’s better to err on the side of being safe.” But he also said he was “being only slightly facetious.”
Then he doubled down. “But it does concern me a little bit that in America — on this and any number of other fronts — we’re sending messages to our young people that if life is hard, you can curl up in the fetal position somewhere in a warm place and just wait until it stops being hard,” he said.
When radio host Terry Meiners pointed out that the cold “is serious business,” Bevin scoffed.
“Come on, now,” protested Bevin, a hedge fund part-owner who ran his family’s bell factory in Connecticut before he was elected governor. “There’s no ice going with it, or any snow.”
The National Weather Service has issued a wind chill warning for Louisville, with possible snow flurries, slick roads and “frostbite and hypothermia … if precautions are not taken.”
The Kentucky Education Association, a teacher’s union, said on Twitter that it supported students’ safety, despite Bevin’s comments.
Indeed, winter weather preparedness is important. The dangerous blast of Arctic cold is predicted to spread farther east on Wednesday and Thursday, with wind chills as low as minus 15 in New York City.
Learn how you can get ready for extreme cold here.