Collins, Maine Democrats denounce anti-Trump rant by state rep

Posted July 13, 2017, at 12:01 p.m.
Last modified July 13, 2017, at 1:54 p.m.

PORTLAND, Maine — Political leaders from both parties are denouncing a Democratic state lawmaker’s online comments that seemed to imply he’d hurt President Donald Trump if he got close enough.

On Wednesday, South Portland state Rep. Scott Hamann’s vulgar Facebook tirade calling the president a “joke,” a “rapist” and a criminal catapulted into the national news, prompting an outpouring of condemnations, including ones from Republican U.S. Sen. Susan Collins and the head of the Maine Democratic Party.

In his post, Hamann wrote that Trump is unlikely to serve his full four-year term, “especially if I ever get within 10 feet of that pussy.”

Collins called threatening violence against the president “unacceptable” and preached “respect and civility” in the face of disagreement. While Maine Democratic Party Chair Phil Bartlett said that his party “does not condone this kind of discourse – period.”

Screenshots of Hamann’s Facebook post began circulating online Tuesday evening. By Wednesday afternoon the 36-year-old lawmaker had released a statement saying he regretted the comments, which he explained as an “aggressively sarcastic” part of “a Facebook exchange with a childhood friend.”

The news of Hamann’s statements was seized on by right-leaning media outlets, including FOX News and Breitbart, and was also picked up by more mainstream news organizations, like Reuters and The Boston Globe.

Maine’s House Democratic leadership has so far been silent on Hamann’s statement. Speaker of the House Sara Gideon, D-Freeport, declined to comment Wednesday and did not respond to questions Thursday.

Republican Gov. Paul LePage, who last summer was embroiled in controversy following the publication of an obscene voicemail in which he said he’d like to duel a Democratic lawmaker, was likewise muted about the matter.

Given the opportunity to talk about Hamann on WGAN radio Thursday morning, LePage was dismissive. “I don’t pay attention to these people,” he said. “Nothing is going to happen to this guy.”

After LePage’s 2016 voicemail seeming to threaten Rep. Drew Gattine, D-Westbrook, state Democrats demanded that the governor step down. The Maine Republican Party has likewise called for Hamann’s resignation.

Hamann could not be reached for comment Thursday. A phone message said his voicemail box is full.

CORRECTION:

A previous version of this story misstated which radio station LePage spoke with.

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