Those who want a glimpse into what a Donald Trump presidency would be like need look no farther than the perpetual self-created mess that is the tenure of Republican Paul LePage as governer of Maine. The New York Times recently provided a handy summary of his more recent embarrassments and attacks of absurd incivility and unprofessional behavior:
Mr. LePage apologized after storming offstage and calling protesting students “idiots” during a public appearance.
Mr. LePage displayed “Wanted”-style posters aimed at environmentalist and union groups during a town meeting, saying those groups were holding the state back.
Mr. LePage said asylum-seekers brought disease and the “ziki-fly.” 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. Mr. LePage also drew criticism that month for appearing to mock a Chinese businessman’s name.
That month, Mr. LePage also delivered his State of the State address in the form of a letter, breaking the tradition of giving a speech to lawmakers. He said it would be “silliness” to address lawmakers who had tried to impeach him.
Mr. LePage apologized for a “slip-up” after saying drug-dealers would come from out of state and “impregnate a young white girl” before leaving. The drug dealers, he said, in a comment that was widely perceived as racially charged, “are guys with the name D-Money, Smoothie, Shifty — these types of guys.”
Mr. LePage apologized to the son of a cartoonist for The Bangor Daily News because he had told the son he would “like to shoot” his father. That comment drew criticism, with some noting its added insensitivity given the attack at the Charlie Hebdo newspaper in Paris earlier that year, although the son said he was not offended.
A charter school in Maine said Mr. LePage had threatened to take away its funding if it did not rescind a job offer to the House speaker, Mark Eves, a Democrat.
“The full power of the state was used to put a father of three out of a job because he was a lawmaker who disagrees with the governor on policy,” the editorial board of The Press Herald wrote.
Some Democrats called for impeachment, but an effort to investigate Mr. LePage — which would have been a precursor to impeachment in January 2016 — did not muster enough support for a vote.
Mr. LePage vowed to veto all Democratic-sponsored bills until the party accepted his effort to eliminate the state’s income tax. The question of whether Mr. LePage had vetoed 65 bills within the proper time frame ended up in the State Supreme Court, which found that the bills could stand as law.
Two lawmakers, who remained anonymous, said they had heard Mr. LePage say at a fund-raiser that President Obama “hates white people.”
June Mr. LePage made a graphically lewd statement about Troy Jackson, a Democrat who was the assistant Senate majority leader at the time. He added that Mr. Jackson was a “bad person” with “no brains” and a “black heart.”
Mr. LePage compared the Internal Revenue Service to the Gestapo in a radio address. Asked about the comment in a follow-up interview several days later, he said: “What I am trying to say is the Holocaust was a horrific crime against humanity and, frankly, I would never want to see that repeated. Maybe the I.R.S. is not quite as bad — yet.”
Mr. LePage said leaders from the N.A.A.C.P. who had questioned his decision not to attend Martin Luther King’s Birthday events could “kiss my butt.”
During his campaign for governor, Mr. LePage told a group of fishermen that he would tell Mr. Obama to “go to hell.”
People like LePage and Trump don’t improve over time, because they don’t learn. If they did, they would not still behave like this at such advanced ages. Thus Governor LePage recently shattered his own record for outrageous conduct, whatever it was, beginning last week. LePage told a town hall meeting addressing the current heroin-use epidemic in Maine that most drug dealers in the state were black or Hispanic, and that he had a binder to prove it.
Those comments (which were factually incorrect, except that he does keep a binder) were quickly condemned by the American Civil Liberties Union of Maine, which said they encouraged racial profiling, and by State Representative Drew Gattine (among others) who said the remarks were “racially charged.”
Ya think? Nonetheless, the governor went bananas, and left a voice mail message for Gattine including a string of obscene expletives, a threat (“I am after you!”) and the kind of vituperation that would lead me to seek a restraining order if I ever received such a message, which I fortunately have not. LePage then told reporters that he would like to have a duel with Mr. Gattine and shoot him between the eyes.
He really did. And Maine voters elected this clown!
Two days later, Governor LePage took his binder of drug arrests and mug shots to a news conference, and stated that Maine’s drug crisis was the equivalent of a war in which combatants must identify and shoot the enemy, which, he said, were “people of color, or people of Hispanic origin.”
This was, not unfairly, interpreted by critics as a call for police to shoot blacks and Hispanics on sight.
This week, at a meeting of New England governors and Canadian provincial premiers in Boston, LePage “clarified” his remarks, saying:
“What I said was this: Meth lab arrests are white. They’re Mainers. The heroin-fentanyl arrests are not white people. They’re Hispanic and they’re black, and they’re from Lowell and Lawrence, Mass.; Waterbury, Conn.; the Bronx and Brooklyn. I didn’t make up the rules. That’s how it turns out. But that’s a fact. It’s a fact. What — do you want me to lie?”
To slightly rephrase the words of Goldfinger to James Bond: “No, Mr. LePage! We want you to resign!”
No state, now nor ever, can function and keep the trust of its citizens with a governor who is this much of an idiot. We don’t even have to reach the question of whether he’s a racist, a bigot, or just hasn’t been paying attention for the last 50 years or so. He can’t be trusted. The man’s a moron. Republicans in the state, if they have any integrity or are at least twice as intelligent as LePage, bringing them up to major primate level (chimps, orangutans, bonobos, and gorillas..are gibbons included? I should check…), will join Democrats in a bi-partisan effort to impeach this fool.
They don’t or aren’t, however. From the Portland Press-Herald:
“Tuesday night, Republican leadership of the Maine House announced that their members weren’t going to take any action – as Democratic legislators had strongly urged – shooting down the possibility of convening a special session to address the governor’s behavior.“Gov. LePage has acknowledged he is sorry, we have condemned his words for what he said, he needs to continue to work on that, but as House Republicans we are going to go out there and start talking about the issues and start talking to the voters because we believe that’s what’s important, we are not coming back in for a special session to talk about this,” said House Minority Leader Ken Fredette, R-Newport.”