Don Blankenship's Statement on the Campaign and UBB
In the week following the election, I have reflected on the campaign and on the last several years since the explosion at Upper Big Branch. It occurred to me that some of my supporters might have interest in hearing some of my inner-most thoughts.
After all, last week, the most powerful man in the world—the President of the United States—felt compelled to prevent me from becoming the Republican nominee to represent West Virginia in the United States Senate. He said it was because I could not win. But he must have known that with his endorsement and support, the road to victory for me in the general election would have been an easy one. The Republicans would have secured one more seat in the United States Senate. So one can only speculate as to why the President did what he did.
The President’s interference in the election was just another example of the bizarre and frightening behavior that human beings can exhibit. The President’s political staff had repeatedly promised for months that they would not get involved in the primary election but on the last day he not only got involved he got directly involved.
As to UBB I am reminded of the old cowboy movies. They are full of stories where everyone in town—contrary to the legal process— decides some guy is guilty and so they drag the poor guy to the gallows. All of a sudden, the town sheriff or some figure of authority saves the guy’s life by shooting in the air or some other act designed to bring the proceedings to a halt. Low-and-behold, the guy is later found innocent and everyone is grateful that he wasn’t hanged. I only wish that President Trump had bothered to learn the facts. I’m confident that if he had, he would have shot in the air, if you will. Instead, he joined the mob that has been, in a sense, persecuting me for over eight years now.
The mob that has been yelling and screaming lies and obscenities at me those eight years is now a very diverse group. It ranges from some poor liberal guy in Peoria to a billionaire President of the United States. It includes people I thought were good, honest, well-meaning people like Karl Rove. But Mr. Rove—with no knowledge of me whatsoever felt entitled and, perhaps even obligated, to call me a moron and a bigot. On national television, Mr. Rove—known as one of the most brilliant campaign strategists of our time—inaccurately told the country I couldn’t even vote for myself. The President’s own son, likely with the President’s consent, called me a felon. Whether or not he knew that to be false at the time I do not know. But when my campaign informed him that I am, in fact, a misdemeanant—not a felon—he refused to apologize or remove the post.
The common theme underlying the slanderous statements of these individuals and others is the allegation that I killed 29 miners. Those that make this absurd allegation are either ignorant of the truth or are evil enough to refuse to consider the facts. It is baffling to watch these people just ignore facts—facts that are staring them in the face and that have the potential to prevent a tragedy like Upper Big Branch from happening again. It is frightening and a horrible testimony to the evilness of mankind.
If any of these people were treated the way they have treated me, they would whine and cry in their pillows at night. Also, I often wonder what the miners who perished at Upper Big Branch—looking down from above—are thinking when they see what is said about the one fella who continues to defend them from the accusation that they killed themselves.
Many of those who voted for me are people that know me well—people who know that I was the best friend the coal miners had; people who know that Massey ran the best mines in Central Appalachia. People who know that I was the most prolific creator of coal mining jobs and coal mine safety enhancements over the past several decades.
Many of those who voted for me have personal knowledge of the Upper Big Branch truth. But there were thousands more who just simply saw me through the irrational actions of my accusers, and still somehow could sense that the portrayal by the media of Don Blankenship and the tragedy at Upper Big Branch was fully inaccurate. These are the people who should give us all hope that Americans can still think for themselves.
I want to say to all of you that its been a tough eight years for me. It is not easy to be falsely accused and to face life in prison. It is very difficult to report to prison when you know you are innocent. As well, its never fun being slandered and lied about. Its also tough to have worked so hard for so many years, always striving to do the right thing, and yet to be the target of so much ignorance and evil.
I know some will immediately say it has not been as tough for me as it has been for the families of the 29 men that lost their lives at Upper Big Branch. That is true. But it does not make it right that the one person who—despite all of this—continues to stand-up for the 29 miners to be called their murderer.
Neither willful ignorance nor emotions will ever change the truth. Again the truth is as obvious as the nose on our faces. The government lied about what happened at Upper Big Branch just like the cowboy who was actually guilty in the old movies lied. The guilty cowboy was willing to watch the innocent cowboy hang rather than tell the truth and the town folks didn’t really care about the truth—they just wanted someone to pay for the crime so that they could get on with their lives.
The ignorant will react to this letter just like Karl Rove, Donald Trump Jr, Mitch McConnell, and hundreds more. As Karl Rove said “they all say they are innocent.” What Karl Rove knows but does not say is that some actually are. I am one of the innocent guys and as my daughter said in the commercial “you can count on it.”