UPDATE – 8/31, 2:15 p.m. EST: Maine Governor Paul LePage met Wednesday with State Rep. Drew Gattine (D-Westbrook), apologizing for remarks made last week to and about the legislator both in the media and on a personal voice message that was made public.
Speaking with reporters following the meeting, LePage said, “After speaking with Representative Gattine, I think that the reporter who put the mic in my face owes the people of Maine an apology as well, because [Gattine] never called me racist. He said I made racially [charged] comments. Maybe, in my mind, it is semantics. But in his mind, after talking to him, it was clear that there was a real difference. Fine.”
Following the governor’s critical remarks of Gattine on Thursday, state Democrats called for LePage to resign, citing apparent emotional instability. LePage subsequently declined their request.
“I may not supposed to be that sensitive to these things, but I am. I lose sleep over this, and it’s frustrating when you hear people talk about cheap political stunts to hurt their opponent and not do the right thing,” LePage continued. “Being called a racist was a horrible thing for me. It was enormously hurtful. It hurt my family. I will not resign, though.”
LePage concluded his remarks vowing never to speak to the media again.
“And I’m serious. Everything will be put in writing. I am tired of being caught — the gotcha moments,” he said. “You folks live in a seven-second fiction world. I live in 24-hour reality.”
Maine’s Republican governor, Paul LePage, caused a political controversy that caught the attention of the national media Friday after leaving a threatening voicemail on Democratic State Rep. Drew Gattine’s phone the day before for allegedly calling him a racist.
Hostilities between Maine’s social liberals like Gattine and “law and order” conservatives such as LePage actually started in January when the governor said at a town hall meeting that drug pushers from New York and Connecticut named “D-Money, Smoothie, Shifty . . . come up here, they sell their heroin, they go back home. Incidentally, half the time they impregnate a young white girl before they leave”.
On Wednesday, Gov. LePage followed up those comments in another meeting with Maine’s concerned citizens, alleging that the photos of arrested drug dealers in his personal file are 90 percent “black and Hispanic people from Waterbury, Connecticut, the Bronx, and Brooklyn.”
“There are a whole lot of white girls too, a whole lot of white girls,” LePage continued. “In fact, in almost every single picture is a white Maine girl”.
The next day, a local TV reporter told LePage that Rep. Gattine was one of many who were now calling the governor a racist. LePage apparently took the second-hand allegation to heart and left the following message on Gattine’s voicemail, Thursday.
“I would like to talk to you about your comments about my being a racist, you cocksucker,” LePage begged Gattine. “And I want to talk to you, I want you to prove that I’m a racist. I’ve spent my life helping black people and you little son of a bitch, socialist cocksucker, I need you, I want you to record this and make it public because I’m after you. Thank you.”
Later on Thursday, LePage continued his tirade against Gattine in a meeting with the press at the governor’s mansion in Augusta.
“When a snot-nosed little guy from Westbrook calls me a racist, now I’d like him to come up here because, tell you right now, I wish it were 1825,” LePage said. “And we would have a duel, that’s how angry I am, and I would not put my gun in the air, I guarantee you, I would not be Hamilton. I would point it right between his eyes.”
State House and Senate Democrats called on the governor to resign Friday, and Assistant House Democratic Leader, Sara Gideon, recommended a “political intervention” by both parties to make sure LePage “gets the help he needs” or resigns.
Following Gideon’s remarks, LePage said he will not forfeit the office unless Gattine and other Democrats accused of corruption follow suit.
“I didn’t know Drew Gattine from a hole in the wall until yesterday,” LePage told the media Friday. “It made me enormously angry when a TV reporter asked me for my reaction about Gattine calling me a racist. . . . So I called Gattine and used the worst word I could think of. I apologize for that to the people of Maine, but I make no apology for trying to end the drug epidemic that is ravaging our state.”
According to FBI statistics, 1,211 people were arrested in Maine for selling or producing drugs in 2014 — 14 percent of whom were black, and nearly all the rest white.
[Portland Press Herald] [AP] [CNN] [Politico] [Photo courtesy AP/Robert F. Bukaty via Business Insider]