After leaving a profanity-laced voicemail for a Democratic lawmaker who unfairly called him a racist, Maine Governor Paul LePage appeared to apologize for his actions Tuesday morning during a radio interview.
At one point, he even implied that he might resign as a result of the fallout.
“I think some things I’ve been asked to do are beyond my ability. 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,” he stated. "If I’ve lost my ability to help Maine people, maybe it’s time to move on."
By late afternoon, LePage walked back his comments. Here’s what he tweeted out just six hours after his morning radio interview:
Regarding rumors of resignation, to paraphrase Mark Twain: "The reports of my political demise are greatly exaggerated." #mepolitics— Paul R. LePage (@Governor_LePage) August 30, 2016
Harsh media scrutiny will likely ensue whether or not LePage resigns. For now at least, the governor is embroiled in controversy.
Here are seven things you need to know about Maine’s governor and why he may resign:
1. LePage first drew national attention last week after suggesting that the majority of drug dealers in his state are black.
“Let me tell you this, explain to you, I made the comment that black people are trafficking in our state, now ever since I said that comment I’ve been collecting every single drug dealer who has been arrested in our state,” he stated at a town hall in North Berwick last Wednesday. “I don’t ask them to come to Maine and sell their poison, but they come and I will tell you that 90-plus percent of those pictures in my book, and it’s a three-ringed binder, are black and Hispanic people from Waterbury, Conn., the Bronx and Brooklyn.”
LePage’s comments were met with intense backlash. Some of his critics on the left pointed out that the majority of convicted drug dealers in Maine are actually white. Others, including Democratic State Representative Drew Gattin, implied that the governor was a racist (or at the very least, promoting racially charged rhetoric).
2. LePage became livid after hearing about Gattin’s sensationalist accusations, prompting the governor to leave the state rep. the now-infamous profanity-laced voicemail.
3. LePage is one of the Left’s favorite targets.
The governor’s unapologetic bombast has angered many leftists. As a result, they’ve been attempting to smear his name for years. In 2013, “Two lawmakers, who remained anonymous, said they had heard Mr. LePage say at a fund-raiser that President Obama ‘hates white people,’" according to The New York Times.
Since then a number of “anonymous” rumors about LePage’s alleged “racism” have floated around the political stratosphere.
4. LePage opposes leftist racial grievance groups. The left hates him for that.
In 2011, LePage said “kiss my butt” to NAACP leaders after they blasted him for refusing to attend their events. Despite increasingly vocal attacks by the NAACP and other like-minded groups, LePage refused to back down.
“Look at my family picture,” LePage said at the time, pointing to his adopted son. “My son happens to be black, so they can do whatever they’d like about it.”
The fact of the matter is there’s only so many hours in a day, so many hours in a week, and so much that you can do.
Tell them to kiss my butt...If they want to play the race card, come to dinner. My son will talk to them.
5. LePage’s un-politically correct rhetoric has landed him in hot water before.
The governor is similar to Donald Trump insofar as he improvises and routinely speaks off the cuff.
In January, LePage apologized for this “slip-up:”
[Out of state drug dealers come into Maine to] impregnate a young white girl.
When asked to clarify his comments, LePage said that he was talking about “guys with the name D-Money, Smoothie, Shifty — these types of guys.”
6. LePage supports Trump and generally aligns with the GOP candidate on Muslim refugees.
“Mr. LePage said asylum-seekers brought disease and the ‘ziki-fly,’" reports The New York Times. “When asked to apologize at an event in June, Mr. LePage did not, and said conditions like hepatitis C and H.I.V. were on the rise in Maine.”
7. Democratic opponents tried to impeach LePage in January. They failed.
Maine’s House Democrats sponsored legislation a few months ago to impeach LePage, citing the governor's alleged bullying and “misuse” of state assets.
According to BDN Maine, the resolution was “seen by many as having no teeth or sustained meaning.” After an hours-long marathon of debates, a Democratic-sponsored resolution to impeach the governor failed.