Bette Midler walks back W.Va. remarks amid anti-Manchin rant

A woman in a black blazer poses with her hand under her chin
Bette Midler, shown in September 2019, tore into Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., after he appeared to doom the Build Back Better bill.
(Michael Nagle / For The Times)

Bette Midler is sorry she insulted you, West Virginia, by characterizing the state’s entire population as “poor, illiterate and strung out.” But she still thinks your Democratic senator, Joe Manchin, doesn’t have “a shred of conscience” and, along with his family, is “part of a criminal enterprise.”

The “Wind Beneath My Wings” singer let loose, as she often does, on social media Monday. The Divine Miss M called out Manchin, who on Sunday had announced he could not support President Biden’s proposed $1.75-trillion Build Back Better spending plan. In a split Senate, the loss of one Democratic vote effectively dooms the legislation, and Midler was on fire about it.

“What #JoeManchin, who represents a population smaller than Brooklyn, has done to the rest of America, who wants to move forward, not backward, like his state, is horrible,” Midler tweeted. “He sold us out. He wants us all to be just like his state, West Virginia. Poor, illiterate and strung out.”


So, everyone in West Virginia became collateral damage in the Upper East Sider’s tirade.

Entertainer Bette Midler drew sharp criticism on social media after calling First Lady Melania Trump an ‘illegal alien’ and mocking her accent.

Aug. 26, 2020

An hour later, Midler was back with an apology. Well, a partial apology.

“I apologize to the good people of WVA for my last outburst,” Midler said to her 2 million Twitter followers. “I’m just seeing red; #JoeManchin and his whole family are a criminal enterprise. Is he really the best WV has to offer its own citizens? Surely there’s someone there who has the state’s interests at heart, not his own!”

West Virginia voted for former President Trump in 2020 by nearly 39 points over Biden, so Manchin appears to have just that?

The rant wasn’t out of character for the “Hocus Pocus” actor, who regularly feuded with Trump on social media when he was in office and last year walked back her comments mocking former First Lady Melania Trump as an “illegal alien” who “still can’t speak English.”

Bette Midler emerged grateful on Wednesday from what she dubbed “the Battle of the Bulge” with President Donald Trump.

June 5, 2019