West Virginia Governor Says He Welcomes All, Except Obama

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice says he would welcome any president to the state besides former President Barack Obama.

The unprompted comment on Wednesday came during a coronavirus news conference in which the Republican governor took a phone call from President Donald Trump and sought to highlight his relationship with the commander-in-chief ahead of the coming primary election.

His office later walked back the remarks, saying they were “in jest” and “in regard to the effect that the Obama Administration’s War on Coal had on the West Virginia economy from 2008-2016.”

His comment drew criticism almost immediately and came as days of protests over police brutality on African Americans have gripped cities across the nation.