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Gov. Beshear Receives Praise For His Handling Of Coronavirus Pandemic


In Kentucky, there are at least 120 cases of COVID-19, and so 5 p.m. Eastern Standard Time has become very important to people who live there because that is when they get to hear Governor Andy Beshear, a Democrat.


ANDY BESHEAR: All right, good afternoon. This is our 5:00 p.m...

This is our 5 o'clock...

Our 5:04...

Our 5 o'clock update on the coronavirus.

KING: Every day, he assures his constituents.


BESHEAR: We're going to make it through this.

We're going to make it through this.

I want to start the way we always start, and that's reaffirming that we will get through this.


Governor Beshear's briefings started weeks ago. Erin Keane only recently realized they were becoming a thing. She is editor-in-chief of Salon and based in Kentucky.

ERIN KEANE: I was noticing that my group texts of, like, Louisville-based friends - which are mostly but not entirely women - they were citing, like, what Andy said or, you know, ooh, I have to go watch Andy; it's time for beers with Beshear at 5 o'clock (laughter).

KING: The governor's calming presence and his use of repetitive catchphrases in addition to his fast action during this crisis has led to a kind of online crush.

INSKEEP: Yeah, it's a little like Andrew Cuomo of New York - people are paying attention well beyond his jurisdiction. An ocean of memes and videos celebrates Beshear - Beshear as Mr. Rogers, as Captain America, as Ryan Gosling. Keane, who wrote a story about Beshear fandom, says the briefings have become must-see TV.

KEANE: And all the sort of, like, reassuring cast of characters, too, has suddenly injected, I think, a lot of Kentuckians with a sense of stability and predictability during a time when the news cycle is moving so fast.

KING: People in other states may be a little envious or offering to trade their governors for Beshear. And you can even get in Andy Bae-shear (ph) T-shirt.

KAYLA FUGATE: I like to call him Daddy Andy just because I look forward to 5 p.m. Eastern Time so he can tell me that it's going to be OK.

INSKEEP: Kayla Fugate is a public defender in Bowling Green, Ky., and part of a Facebook group - a 100,000-member Facebook group - that is dedicated to praising Governor Beshear's handling of the pandemic.

KING: Chase Hale (ph) of Corbin, Ky., is also impressed.

CHASE HALE: He really puts everybody at ease, and I've appreciated that he has taken some really firm action on this. He's just been very decisive and tactful with his words, and I feel like I've not been left in the dark in any way.

KING: Hale is a registered Republican, but he says he'd consider voting for the Democrat Beshear in the next election.

INSKEEP: Wait a minute - someone crossing party lines to vote? That would be the strangest development yet. This is NPR News.

KING: Can I laugh at that? (Laughter).


KING: That was really funny (laughter).

INSKEEP: Yes, you can laugh at that.

KING: (Laughter).

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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