Kentucky Republicans Build Wall Inside Capitol Offices to Separate Democratic State Senators

Republican Kentucky state senators erected an actual wall inside the Capitol Annex to physically block Democrats off from their part of the shared offices.

GOP Senate President Rob Stivers made the openly partisan move of building a physical wall inside of the Senate Capitol Annex in Frankfort, Kentucky, according to a report Monday in Louisville-based newspaper The Courier-Journal. Several Capitol office employees confirmed to Newsweek that the internal wall is being constructed to separate the Democratic Party and Republican Party lawmakers.

Several State Capitol representatives for both parties acknowledged the wall has partisan motivations but declined to elaborate on any potential security reasons for building the internal wall. The wall keeps three Republican lawmakers from having to share office space with Democrats. Stivers did not immediately respond to Newsweek for comment on the issue Monday afternoon.

Republican senators wall off fellow Democrats — literally — in Kentucky Capitol office

— Courier Journal (@courierjournal) August 26, 2019

Several Kentucky Democratic leaders including Auditor nominee Sheri Donahue denounced the move, offering incredulous social media comments about Republican senators "literally" walling off their state senate colleagues. Republican leaders told The Courier-Journal Monday the point of the new drywall separating the senate members was for "partisan privacy."

"In an openly partisan move, the Republican Senate majority is building a wall in the State Capitol Annex so that three of its GOP members will not have to share an office suite with minority Democrats," The Courier-Journal reporter Ben Tobin tweeted Monday morning. "The wall will cost taxpayers about $12,000."

Democrats said the wall is clearly taking President Donald Trump's Southern border wall strategy to a "divisive" new level in Kentucky's capital city.

"Childish behavior like this is why people are losing faith in government! This is a waste of tax dollars!" Donahue tweeted Monday.

Other reactions took issue with the taxpayer price tag attached to the partisan wall inside the Kentucky State Capitol building.

"From the party of fiscal responsibility, a $12K wall so Republican State Senators don't have to share an office suite with Democrats," tweeted Louisville, Kentucky-based New York Magazine politics writer Adam K. Raymond.

Kentucky Republicans hold a state government trifecta, with Matt Bevin in the governor's office as well as control of both state legislative chambers. In the state senate, there are 29 Republicans and nine Democrats.

kentucky republicans wall state capitol
Kentucky Republicans literally walled off their Democratic colleagues inside the State Capitol Annex offices. Bill Pugliano/Stringer/Getty Images