Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin (R) told religious conservatives at the Values Voters Summit this weekend that blood might have to be shed if Hillary Clinton is elected president.
"I want us to be able to fight ideologically, mentally, spiritually, economically, so that we don’t have to do it physically,” Bevin said Saturday. “But that may, in fact, be the case."
He added, citing Thomas Jefferson's "blood of patriots and tyrants" quote: "The roots of the tree of liberty are watered by what? The blood. Of who? The tyrants, to be sure. But who else? The patriots. Whose blood will be shed? It may be that of those in this room. It might be that of our children and grandchildren."
Bevin, a tea party supporter who has been known to make a controversial comment or two, clarified his comments to the Lexington Herald-Leader, saying he was referring to military sacrifice.
"Today we have thousands of men and women in uniform fighting for us overseas, and they need our full backing,” Bevin said in a statement. “We cannot be complacent about the determination of radical Islamic extremists to destroy our freedoms."
Bevin's comments echo a tea party rallying cry that has cropped up from time to time. Activists and even some lawmakers have cited Jefferson's quote to reinforce the stakes for their political movement.
As for the 2016 campaign, Bevin's comments are the latest example of elected officials promising very bad things if the wrong candidate is elected. And it's not just Democrats warning about Donald Trump having his finger on the nuclear button — a prospect that has been the subject of a Hillary Clinton campaign ad.
Former congresswoman Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) warned recently that a Clinton win might mean this could be the "last election" in which Americans would be able to elect a president with "godly moral principles."
Conservative talk show hosts have warned of even worse, up to and including civil war. But Bevin's comments appear to be the most full-throated warning about a Clinton presidency so far from a high-ranking GOP elected official.