PORTLAND, Maine — The governing body of a Westbrook youth center has decided to cancel a town hall meeting planned by Gov. Paul LePage, who had announced the event Monday.
The Wednesday town hall was meant to have LePage “deliver remarks about moving Maine forward and answer questions from residents,” according to a statement from the governor’s office.
It would have taken place in the city represented by the Democratic state lawmaker, Rep. Drew Gattine, who received an angry, obscenity-laced voicemail from LePage, which has incited a national firestorm and prompted Republican legislative leaders to call for “corrective action.”
The board of My Place Teen Center voted to cancel the LePage’s event, Executive Director Donna Dwyer confirmed to BDN Portland.
“We notified [a spokeswoman for the governor] that we do not have the capacity to host the Town Hall,” Dwyer wrote in an email.
Dwyer did not respond to questions about what motivated the sudden cancellation.
The uncommon rebuff of a sitting governor comes while LePage is mired in the controversy that began last Wednesday by his latest racially charged comments about Maine’s drug epidemic.
The governor responded to criticism of his statements by Gattine with a voicemail that contained obscene insults. In an interview Thursday, LePage told reporters he would like to duel the Democrat, who represents Westbrook.
Following the governor’s statements, in which he called Gattine a “little son-of-a-bitch, socialist c—ksucker” and said he’d like point his gun “right between” the legislator’s eyes, Westbrook city leaders denounced LePage, calling the tirade “insanity.”
LePage backpedaled from the apparent threat, calling the reference to a duel “simply a metaphor,” and apologized to the “people of Maine” for using the obscenity last Friday, though the governor pointedly did not apologize to Gattine.
The governor claimed that Gattine called him a racist, but the legislator denies the accusation.
State Democratic lawmakers on Monday renewed calls for the governor’s resignation, and Republican Senate President Mike Thibodeau called on him to take “corrective action,” but it is unclear what this entails.
A spokeswoman for LePage did not immediately respond to questions about the teen center’s cancellation of his event Monday night.