This last time we checked in with Maine Gov. Paul LePage he was using an anal-sex metaphor to attack a political foe. This time, the Republican’s word choice has again landed him in the national spotlight for all the wrong reasons. According to two unnamed state lawmakers, LePage told a group of conservatives at a GOP fundraiser last week that President Obama “hates white people.” Here’s the Portland Press Herald with the details:
The lawmakers, both Republicans, confirmed the comment when asked by a Portland Press Herald reporter but asked that their names be withheld for fear of political retribution. Each said LePage talked about how Obama could have been the best president ever if he had highlighted his biracial heritage. LePage said the president hasn’t done that because he hates white people.
“Yeah, he said it,” said one of the lawmakers. “It was one little thing from a speech, but I think most people there thought it was totally inappropriate.” … One of the lawmakers who confirmed LePage’s comment said he supports the governor’s policies but is tired of being asked to defend controversial statements.
Two other GOP lawmakers who were at the event—and who agreed to be quoted by name in the paper—couldn’t say whether LePage made the controversial comment or not, but that if he did, they didn’t hear it. For its part, LePage’s team doesn’t appear to be denying the quote itself but instead is taking issue with the notion that the governor is racist. In a statement given to the Maine newspaper after the quote was first reported, Brent Littlefield, the governor’s senior political adviser, said, in part: “It seems farfetched for anyone, even a newspaper, to make an insinuation the governor is racist given his life history.”
The statement then went on to make references to a Jamaican-born man who the LePages helped care for while he attended high school in Maine during the early 2000s. (It’s worth remembering this isn’t the first time that LePage has tried to use that man, Devon Raymond Jr., as something of a trump card when it comes to race. In 2011, while in the midst of a spat with the NAACP, LePage declared: “And if they want, they can look at my family picture. My son happens to be black, so they can do whatever they’d like about it.”)
As is probably pretty evident by now, LePage has a history of making controversial comments Among his most infamous are the anal-sex joke, and his remarks comparing the Internal Revenue Service to the Gestapo. In 2010, shortly before he was elected, he told a local forum: “As your governor, you’re going to be seeing a lot of me on the front page, saying ‘Governor LePage tells Obama to go to hell.’”