Maine Republican governor Paul LePage is under fire after lashing out at Democratic State Rep. Drew Gattine with a violent rant on the lawmaker’s voicemail and calling for a race war against people of color.
Following a news report where State Rep. Drew Gattine criticizes him over several racists remarks, LePage left a violent rant on the lawmaker’s voicemail, saying:
“Mr. Gattine, this is Gov. Paul Richard LePage. I would like to talk to you about your comments about my being a racist, you c**ksucker. 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 c**ksucker. You… I need you to… just friggin’. I want you to record this and make it public because I am after you. Thank you,” LePage voice message said.
LePage appeared to threaten Gattine’s life in remarks made later to the Portland Press Herald, in which he declared:
“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. 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 [Alexander] Hamilton. I would point it right between his eyes, because he is a snot-nosed little runt and he has not done a damn thing since he’s been in this legislature to help move the state forward.”
Now, Calls are mounting for the Republican governor to resign after he doubled down Friday on openly racist statements he made by calling for a race war against people of color.
During a press conference at which he sought to defend himself against accusations of racism, LePage said that “people of color are the enemy and should be shot.”
“A bad guy is a bad guy,” he said. “When you go to war, if you know the enemy, the enemy dresses in red and you dress in blue, you shoot at red. You shoot at the enemy. You try to identify the enemy. And the enemy right now, the overwhelming majority of people coming in are people of color or people of Hispanic origin.”
On Saturday night, Democratic leaders in the legislature wrote a letter to their Republican counterparts calling on them to rebuke the governor’s statements and press him either to get help or resign. The letter states that LePage “appears to be unfit to hold office at this time.”
Burrage cautioned, “It would be easy to say Paul LePage is crazy or unstable, but the reality is that he is a manifestation of the people who put him in office. This is an issue in the governor’s office, but it’s a larger issue as far as racism being acceptable.”
While Donald Trump-style racism may embolden figures like LePage, Burrage emphasized that the Maine governor’s racism predates the 2016 presidential election cycle. “It’s doesn’t feel new to me,” said Burrage, “and I am not shocked.”