With the help of the son of a famous televangelist, Gov. Jim Justice plugged a proposal for counties in Virginia to join West Virginia. The pitch for secession is part of an ongoing effort in the West Virginia Legislature now dubbed “Vexit.”

Jerry Falwell, Jr. is a lawyer, Baptist, president of Liberty University and the son of televangelist Jerry Fallwell, Sr. He joined Gov. Jim Justice in Martinsburg Tuesday to announce their shared support of counties leaving Virginia for West Virginia. The two touted Gov. Justice’s ties to President Trump.

Gov. Justice echoed Falwell’s sentiments. 

“If you’re out there, no matter where you may be, Virginia, or wherever you may be as an individual or as a business or whatever,” Justice said, “West Virginia is waiting for you with open arms.”

The West Virginia Senate adopted a resolution that invites Frederick County, Virginia to join the Mountain State. Frederick County officials have said they are not interested in becoming a part of West Virginia. A proposal in the House of Delegates would open that invitation to additional counties in Virginia. 

The Virginia General Assembly would have to approve counties that voted to leave the state, and Falwell mentioned Congress may need to become involved — similar to West Virginia’s secession from Virginia in 1863. 

Gov. Justice acknowledged that would be a longshot and the process leaves many unknowns. 

“We don’t know all the intricacies that are going on, and we surely don’t know whether or not this can run across the finish line,” Justice said. “And we all know there may be difficulties in making it run across the finish line. However, we all know this: if there’s people or there’s businesses or there’s counties that are discontent, we want the world to know just how welcoming West Virginia is. And so that’s our role.”

This article was originally published by West Virginia Public Broadcasting.

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