Gov. Paul LePage: I ‘Used The Worst Word I Could Think Of’
Gov. Paul LePage issued an apology of sorts Friday morning for leaving a profanity-laden voicemail for a state lawmaker adding he "meant no physical harm" to the Democrat.
"When someone calls me a racist, I take it very seriously. I didn’t know Drew Gattine from a hole in the wall until yesterday. It made me enormously angry when a TV reporter asked me for my reaction about Gattine calling me a racist. It is the absolute worst, most vile thing you can call a person. So I called Gattine and used the worst word I could think of," reads the statement issued late Friday morning.
"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," the statement continues. "Legislators like Gattine would rather be politically correct than protect ruthless drug dealers than work with me to stop this crisis that is killing five Mainers a week."
Gattine has criticized what he calls LePage’s “racially-charged” comments regarding the drug epidemic in Maine.
LePage also addressed comments he made in a subsequent interview with reporters in which he said he wished he and Rep. Drew Gattine of Westbrook could have a duel and "I would point (my gun) right between his eyes."
"When I said I was going after Gattine, I meant I would do everything I could to see that he and his agenda is defeated politically. I am a history buff, and I referenced how political opponents used to call each other out in the 1820s—including Andrew Jackson, the father of the Democratic Party. Obviously, it is illegal today; it was simply a metaphor and I meant no physical harm to Gattine. But I am calling him out to stop giving inflammatory sound bites and get to work to end this crisis that is killing Mainers, destroying families and creating drug-addicted babies, all so the drug dealers Gattine is protecting can make a profit."
Meanwhile, Democrats condemned LePage's remarks, which you can hear below.
"Governor LePage’s direct threat against Rep. Gattine is both erratic and disturbing, and he is clearly unfit to lead our state. Not only did the governor blatantly say he would take violent action against a sitting lawmaker, he also twice invoked a homophobic slur to drive home his point," reads the statement from Maine Democratic Party Chairman Phil Bartlett. "Those reckless remarks may incite others to violence. Our primary concern right now is for the security and well-being of Rep. Gattine and his family. Paul LePage is an increasingly menacing figure who does not reflect the values of our state."