The day after WV Governor Jim Justice announced he was switching parties to become a Republican, Fox got the first interview, of course. Predictably, there were no pesky questions about the millions of dollars Justice has stiffed his creditors and federal safety regulators.
Justice explained his political conversation by saying that his family has been “Republican all of our lives and everything,” but that he ran for governor last year as a Democrat “because I really do care about our people.” Not that the Republicans don’t, he quickly added but, “At one time, I was a little concerned about how serious the Republicans were about really helping business and doing the right things there.”
“It really just came down to just this:” Justice said. “At crunch time, I mean when we had a budget that was going to be passed, that was going to help in a lot of different ways and everything, for whatever the reason may be, just from a pure political play, the Democrats walked away from me only because they were upset that there was a component to the budget that was tax reform that was coming from the Republicans, and it was a terrible move and it hurt a lot of people.”
Now, Justice said, “I feel more in tune with the Republicans.” He said Donald Trump is “doing a fabulous job.”
Host Neil Cavuto did press Justice on whether “you might be hitching yourself up to the wrong horse” with Trump given that Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller has just impaneled a grand jury in the Russia investigation.
“No,” Justice said. “We, as Americans, are getting flat sick and tired of hearing about the Russians. … We’ve got a stock market at 22,000, we’ve got real hope going on within our state.” However, he later agreed that the Russia matter “could stymie” Trump’s presidency.
Justice did not seem very worried, however. He thought the appointment of General John Kelly as chief of staff “will help things, no question.” Justice also said he’s been to the White House several times lately “and I can tell you they abound with qualified, good people.”
“Our president genuinely cares,” Justice insisted “This man wants nothing for himself.”
But what Cavuto never got around to telling the “we report, you decide” network’s viewers is that the billionaire Justice “has left a trail of millions of dollars of unpaid fines to federal coal regulators, unpaid bills to suppliers and unpaid taxes to state and local governments throughout Appalachia,” as The Washington Post has reported.
More on Justice from The Post:
“Most of their bills aren’t paid,” said Donna Hoskins, the clerk for Harlan County in Kentucky. “Their tax bills are delinquent.” She said that Sequoia Energy, a coal company owned by Justice, owes the county $653,169 for back taxes for the past three years.
As of January, companies owned by Justice piled up $3 million for federal fines that were imposed for safety violations in his coal-mining operations by the Mine Safety and Health Administration, according to records analyzed by Ellen Smith, owner of Mine Safety and Health News, an independent publication targeted at businesses and government agencies. Nearly all of that amount was past due for more than 90 days, Smith said.
The fines were not just a question of money. On Jan. 29, MSHA harshly penalized a surface mine in Kentucky where the Justice-owned company had not fixed dangerous conditions cited previously by the agency. Justice also has won and lost court fights over the contamination of rivers from his mining operations.
It should be noted that The Post also reported Justice is generous to charities and lower-income people.
But hey, Justice is a Trump supporter who was about to dump the Democratic party. So from Fox’s perspective, there’s nothing else viewers need to know.
Watch Fox’s favorite kind of “Democrat” below, from the August 4, 2017 Cavuto: Coast to Coast on Fox Business Network. The interview also aired that day on Cavuto's Your World show on Fox News Channel.