Beshear Appointee Scrubs Tweets That Called Kentucky Voters Homophobic Bigots

'If you support Trump you're a bigot. Just claim it,' left-wing writer Silas House said in 2019

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear (D.) and poet laureate Silas House / Twitter
May 18, 2023

Kentucky Democratic governor Andy Beshear's pick to be the state's "ambassador to the rest of the world" quietly deleted tweets in which he blasted a majority of Kentucky voters as homophobic bigots.

After Beshear last month tapped left-wing writer Silas House to serve as Kentucky's poet laureate, the Washington Free Beacon reported on House's long history of disparaging Kentucky voters. In a string of now-deleted tweets, the Beshear appointee contended that Appalachia "as a majority IS homophobic" and told supporters of former president Donald Trump to kiss his "gay country ass." In another deleted post, House wrote, "If you support Trump you're a bigot. Just claim it."

It is unclear whether House is still the state's poet laureate. House notably deleted a January 2023 post that showed him shaking hands with a smiling Beshear, who has yet to address House's posts critical of Kentucky voters. Neither Beshear nor House returned requests for comment.

Local media outlets scurried to the appointee's defense following the Free Beacon's report, with the Lexington Herald-Leader writing that House "has a complicated relationship with Kentucky, but his deep love for it is palpable … in his tweets." House's decision to scrub his past attacks on Kentucky voters, however, suggests Beshear is concerned that his appointee's rhetoric could hurt his reelection prospects in a state that has backed Republicans—and Trump—by huge margins in recent elections. The former president carried Kentucky by 30 and 26 points in 2016 and 2020, respectively, and Republican senator Rand Paul last year cruised to reelection in the Bluegrass State.

The son of Kentucky's 61st governor, Beshear served as the state's attorney general before rising to the governor's mansion in 2019, when he beat unpopular incumbent Matt Bevin by less than 1 percentage point. Four years later, Beshear will face a more formidable challenger: state attorney general Daniel Cameron, who on Tuesday secured the GOP gubernatorial nomination following an endorsement from Trump. Cameron was also on the ballot in 2019—the Republican beat incumbent Greg Stumbo by a whopping 15 points.

Roughly three weeks before Cameron's primary win, Beshear named House as Kentucky's poet laureate during an April 24 ceremony, which saw the Democrat praise House's "unique gift." "We're gonna be blessed to have him as our literary ambassador to the rest of the world," Beshear said.

Beyond his criticism of Trump voters, House has also blasted evangelical Christianity, a faith held by nearly half of Kentuckians. In a November essay, the Beshear appointee lamented being "raised in a church of terrorists" and warned that the "Christian nationalist forces that terrorized me as a child have grown only more powerful." In a 2022 novel, meanwhile, House tells the story of a young gay man who attempts to flee to Ireland after "extremist" Republicans take control of the United States. Beshear during his April ceremony identified that book as an example of House's ability to tell "his Kentucky story."

House attended an anti-coal mining protest at the governor's mansion in 2011, when Beshear's father, fellow Democrat Steve Beshear, occupied the residence. House in a subsequent New York Times op-ed admonished the elder Beshear for championing the coal industry—the industry employed nearly 19,000 people at the time.

In addition to his appointment of House, Beshear has faced criticism for vetoing a bill that would ban sex-change surgeries for minors, a move that Cameron said "sets a dangerous precedent for our children's future." Beshear's decision to veto the bill shows the Democrat is wrong for Kentucky, the Republican Governors Association argued in a statement.

"Whether it's surrounding himself with extreme liberals, fighting to close churches, or pushing a radical agenda on children in Kentucky schools, Andy Beshear has proven he is not right for Kentucky," said association chairwoman Kim Reynolds, the governor of Iowa.