Shortly after Thanksgiving, Gov. Matt Bevin released a video imploring people to join him in the Capitol Rotunda for the annual lighting of the Capitol Christmas tree.
Bevin didn’t show.
Instead, the governor was in Cincinnati on Thursday night speaking at a rally for President-elect Donald Trump.
“In 1980, America needed a strong president,” Bevin said, shortly after the Christmas tree had been officially lit in Frankfort. “But frankly, not since 1980 have we had the same sense of need in our people. And frankly, not even in 1980 did the world need a strong American president like they needed one this year.”
Bevin has spoken with Trump on the phone since the election and has called Vice President-elect Mike Pence, the former governor of Indiana, one of his closest political friends.
In his speech, Bevin compared Trump to Winston Churchill, a leader Bevin often quotes, and compared the people in attendance to the people of England in World War II.
“We represent the Judeo-Christian principles, and the work ethic, and the respect for our Constitution, and the respect for our military, and the respect for our law enforcement, and the respect for the right to keep and bear arms,” Bevin said. “These are the values of America. This is what the American people believe.”
Bevin also made a call for unity, asking the people in attendance to forgive Hillary Clinton supporters who criticized Trump and Pence over the course of the election.
“United we stand, divided we fall,” Bevin said. “My challenge to you is that you take that to heart. Are we unhappy with all the vitriol that was uncorked on Donald Trump and Mike Pence? You bet we were. But I tell you what, let’s put that behind us, let’s bury it.”
Bevin never officially endorsed Trump, but he did express support for Trump during the campaign and criticized “hypocrites” who were outraged at a leaked tape of Trump in 2005 saying he could grab women by their genitals.
The governor’s press office did not immediately respond to multiple requests for comment about Bevin’s invitation to speak at the rally.