Tags: maine | lepage | quite | racism

Maine Gov. LePage Floats Resignation, Then Pulls Back in Racism Flap

Image: Maine Gov. LePage Floats Resignation, Then Pulls Back in Racism Flap

(Robert F. Bukaty/AP)

Tuesday, 30 Aug 2016 02:02 PM

Combative Maine Governor Paul LePage told a radio host on Tuesday that he was considering not finishing his term in office, amid a wave of criticism after he left a lawmaker a profanity-filled voicemail. 

But the two-term, tea party-backed Republican governor subsequently appeared to backtrack on the idea, paraphrasing Mark Twain in a tweet that read in part: "The reports of my political demise are greatly exaggerated."

 

 

That message came hours after he told an interviewer on Maine's WVOM-FM radio that he was "looking at all options," when asked if he would finish his term, which extends through 2018.

LePage's latest outburst came after a newspaper reporter told him state Representative Drew Gattine had described the governor as racist for focusing on black people as bearing primary responsibility for the drug trade in the state. LePage responded to Gattine with a blistering, profanity-laced voicemail that has been widely circulated.

"I'm not going to say that I'm not going to finish it; I'm not saying that I am going to finish it," LePage said on Tuesday, in reference to his term in office. "What I'm going to do right now is I'm taking one step at a time. I want to meet with Mr. Gattine and then I want to meet with my team at my office and we're going to look at what the proper steps are to move the state forward."

A LePage spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a request to clarify the governor's Twain tweet. Gattine also did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

LePage has repeatedly described himself as a less-than-polished, plain-speaking politician.

"It's possible it was a screw-up," said Michael Franz, chairman of the government department at Maine's Bowdoin College, referring to the radio interview.

"It's possible that on the fly he created this notion that he's thinking this way without realizing that would become the focal point," Franz said. "My first inclination is that this is not serious and that he's just attempting to establish his regret."

 

APOLOGY TO MAINE, FAMILIES

LePage, 67, said he had lost his temper when he was told that Gattine had described his views as racist. He told reporters he would like to engage in a duel with Gattine, a remark he later described as metaphoric.

"I just want to apologize to the Maine people, to Gattine's family and most of all to my family," LePage said in the 15-minute interview. "And we will take action."

Some Democratic lawmakers have called for a special session of the legislature to censure LePage, who earlier this year fought off an impeachment effort.

"A half-hearted, partial apology on a radio show does not get remotely close to addressing the core issue: Maine faces serious issues and its government is not functioning," the state's Democratic House leadership said in a statement on Tuesday.

State Senate President Michael Thibodeau and other Republican legislative leaders convened a closed-door meeting with LePage late on Monday to discuss his future.

The governor told the group he was going to talk to friends and family about what he would do next and respond to them on Tuesday, said Jim Cyr, a spokesman for Thibodeau.

"He's hoping to hear from the governor to follow up about their meeting last night," Cyr said.

Controversial outbursts have marked LePage's six years in office. Earlier this year, he denied he intended to be racist when he said drug dealers "with the name D-Money, Smoothie, Shifty" were coming to the state to impregnate "white girls."

In 2013, he told a television interviewer that a political rival "claims to be for the people but he's the first one to give it to the people without providing Vaseline."

LePage was targeted for impeachment last year by a group of lawmakers who contended he overstepped his authority by threatening to withhold funds from a nonprofit group that hired a political rival. The effort was dropped in January before it could be taken up by the full legislature.

© 2017 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

 
1Like our page
2Share
Newsfront
Combative Maine Governor Paul LePage told a radio host on Tuesday that he was considering not finishing his term in office, amid a wave of criticism after he left a lawmaker a profanity-filled voicemail.
maine, lepage, quite, racism
688
2016-02-30
Tuesday, 30 Aug 2016 02:02 PM
Newsmax Inc.
 

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
© Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved