September 18, 2018
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From ‘little beards’ to guys named ‘Smoothie,’ LePage’s most controversial quotes

Gretchen Ertl | REUTERS
Gretchen Ertl | REUTERS
Governor Paul LePage
Bangor Daily News
Updated:

We’re keeping a running tally of some of Gov. Paul LePage’s more colorful quotes from his time in the Blaine House and his campaigns for governor in 2010 and 2014. Know any we’ve missed? E-mail us.

— Aug. 30, 2016: In response to a question from a radio host on WVOM about whether LePage will finish his second term in the wake of a controversy over over an obscene voice message he left for a Democratic lawmaker, LePage said the he’s “ looking at all the options.” The governor later went to Twitter to say that “ reports of my political demise are greatly exaggerated.”

— Aug. 26, 2016: In his first news conference since his January comments about black drug dealers impregnating white Maine girls, LePage made a war analogy about the drug abuse epidemic that one must “ identify the enemy” and “the enemy right now … are people of color or people of Hispanic origin.”

— Aug. 25, 2016: LePage found himself at the center of a firestorm after he left an obscene voicemail for a Democratic lawmaker he believed called him a racist. “I’ve spent my life helping black people and you little son-of-a-bitch, socialist c—ksucker,” LePage said in a voice message left for Rep. Drew Gattine of Westbrook. “I want you to record this and make it public because I am after you.” He later apologized for the message during his weekly radio appearance on WVOM.

— April 23, 2016: “You already have restaurants, in the summer, if you go on the coast, it’s hard to hear what they’re saying. Did you ever try to say ‘What’s the special today?’ from somebody from Bulgaria? And the worst ones if they’re from India! I mean, they’re all lovely people but it takes … you’ve got to have an interpreter. But how many of you gone and tried to return something from Amazon on a telephone? Great, I’m excited: They’re willing to do the work that some of our people are not. However, they’re doing it because they get tips. What happens if there’s no tips?” LePage said at a Maine Republican Party convention.

— April 20, 2016: “Naloxone does not truly save lives; it merely extends them until the next overdose,” LePage wrote in a letter vetoing a bill that would expand access to overdose reversal drug. Legislators later overrode his veto.

— Feb. 16, 2016: LePage called asylum seekers “ the biggest problem in our state” while speaking at a town hall event in Freeport. He claimed that asylum seekers pose a public health threat, bringing infectious diseases such as hepatitis C, tuberculosis, AIDS, HIV and “the ziki fly” into the state.

— Feb. 11, 2016: Instead of going through the state’s nomination process for education commissioner, LePage said at an event hosted by a Lewiston-Auburn business group that he would speak for the Maine Department of Education. “ I will be the commissioner,” he said. He later told reporters that he did not intend to actually serve as the head of the department.

— Feb. 11, 2016: At that same event, LePage drew criticism from the Chinese-American community for a joke about a Chinese businessman’s name. “ I call him Mr. Chiu,” LePage said, pretending to sneeze and laughing.

— Jan. 26, 2016: LePage said during his weekly radio appearance on WVOM that increased sentences for drug traffickers didn’t go far enough, and that “ what we ought to do is bring the guillotine back.” He went on to say that “We could have public executions and we could even have which hole it falls in.”

— Jan. 9, 2016: At a town hall meeting in Bridgton, LePage made the now infamous statement about “ guys with the name D-Money, Smoothie, Shifty” coming to Maine to sell heroin. He went on to say that “half the time they impregnate a young, white girl before they leave, which is a real sad thing because then we have another issue we’ve got to deal with down the road.”

— Dec. 9, 2015: LePage said he was “ appalled by the lack of parenting” a Virginia transgender boy received. LePage had joined Republican officials from other states in fighting a lawsuit filed on behalf of Gavin Grimm by the ACLU against a Virginia school board over its policy that required transgender students to use private bathrooms rather than one that corresponded with the gender with which they identify.

— Nov. 16, 2015: Following the terror attacks in Paris, LePage said that a Mainer may have died during the attacks. That caused media outlets across the state to scramble to confirm whether a Mainer was among the dead. A LePage spokeswoman later said “we do not have official confirmation of a Mainer who was a victim in the terrorist attacks in Paris.” As it turned out, no Mainer had died during the attacks.

— July 10, 2015: “ Even I can understand it and I’m French,” LePage said when questioned by reporters about the rules governing the veto process following his failed attempt to pocket veto a slate of bills.

— June 24, 2015: While speaking to a group of teenagers at Dirigo Boys State in Waterville, LePage said that he would “ like to shoot” BDN cartoonist George Danby after fielding a question from his son, Nick Danby. LePage later apologized for his remark.

— Oct. 31, 2014: After a worker with acute hepatitis A served food for weeks at a restaurant in Cumberland County, possibly exposing patrons, LePage said this in response to questions from reporters: “ I have been trying to get the president to pay attention to the illegals in our country because there’s been a spike in hepatitis C, tuberculosis and HIV, but it’s going on deaf ears.”

— Jan. 8, 2014: At an agricultural trade show, LePage sparked controversy after suggesting that the state should allow 12-year-olds to work. “ We don’t allow children to work until they’re 16, but two years later, when they’re 18, they can go to war and fight for us,” he said.

— Dec. 5, 2013: “ Everybody looks at the negative effects of global warming, but with the ice melting, the Northern Passage has opened up. So maybe, instead of being at the end of the pipeline, we’re now at the beginning of a new pipeline,” LePage said of the potential upsides to climate change.

— Aug. 9, 2013: “ I want to find the Press Herald building and blow it up,” LePage said as he climbed into the cockpit of a F-35 Lightning II fighter jet simulator during an event at Pratt & Whitney, a defense contractor in North Berwick.

— June 20, 2013: LePage said Democratic Sen. Troy Jackson has “no brains” and a “black heart” and ” claims to be for the people but he’s the first one to give it to the people without Vaseline” after the senator from Aroostook County gives the Democratic response to LePage’s budget veto.

— June 18, 2013: LePage ordered his administration to stop speaking to the the Portland Press Herald, Kennebec Journal and Waterville Sentinel.

— May 29, 2013: “ Next year I would like you to create a Legislature that doesn’t speak back.” — LePage speaking to students with his second annual Governor’s Promising STEM Youth Awards, who brought robots they had built to the State House for the recognition ceremony.

— May 29, 2013: “ The minute we start stifling our speech, we might as well go home, roll up our sleeves and get our guns out.” — LePage commenting about censorship by Democrats, related to the television screen outside his office.

— May 23, 2013: ” If I have to remove myself from the toxic climate of censorship by Democrats in the State House to defend the taxpayers of Maine, then that’s what I will do.” — LePage threatens to move his office from the State House after Democratic leaders refused to allow him to place a television screen outside his office.

— May 19, 2013: “ The people of the state of Maine are being played for patsies.” — LePage after being denied the ability to speak to the Appropriations Committee at the conclusion of a rare Sunday meeting.

— March 1, 2013: “ I don’t care if it’s my bills. I’ll veto my own bills.” — LePage promises to veto any bill that comes across his desk until the Legislature passes his plan to repay $484 million owed to the state’s hospitals.

— Jan. 9, 2013: “ If you’ve got a job and you’re going to be intimidated, give it up and we’ll get somebody who can do the job. I am asking them for the good of the kids of the state of Maine, please go away. We don’t need you. We need some people with backbones.” — LePage calling on the members of Maine’s charter school commission to resign, a day after the seven-member panel rejected four out of five applications for new charter schools.

— January 2013: “ You guys, you’re idiots and you’re just as bad if not worse than those other guys.” — LePage comparing independent lawmakers to Democrats during a meeting with three independent legislators on alternate approaches to balancing the state budget.

— Nov. 9, 2012: “ If you want a good education in Maine, and I get criticized by my opponents because I’m hard on education, but if you want a good education, go to an academy. If you want a good education go to private schools. If you can’t afford it, tough luck. You can go to the public school.” — LePage discusses school choice during an “Eggs ‘n Issues” talk at York County Community College.

— July 12, 2012: “ The Holocaust was a horrific crime against humanity and, frankly, I would never want to see that repeated. Maybe the IRS is not quite as bad — yet.” — LePage compares the IRS to the Gestapo during an interview with Seven Days, an alternative weekly newspaper in Burlington, Vermont. He later apologized for his remarks.

— April 27, 2012: “ The problem is the middle management of the state is about as corrupt as you can be. Believe me, we’re trying every day to get them to go to work, but it’s hard.” — LePage responds to a question about fees at a town hall forum in Newport.

— March 31, 2012: “ That [criticism] is coming from a little spoiled brat from Portland. He’s very fortunate that his granddad was born ahead of him.” — LePage on Sen. Justin Alfond, D-Portland, when asked about Democratic calls for an investigation of the Department of Health and Human Services.

— March 15, 2012: “ The press. Reading newspapers in the state of Maine is like paying somebody to tell you lies.” — LePage to a student who asked him what he didn’t like about his job during his appearance as keynote speaker at a Career Conversations event at Waterville Junior High School.

— March 25, 2011: “ I’d laugh at them, the idiots. That’s what I would do. Come on! Get over yourselves!” — LePage when asked what he would do if people formed a human chain to block the removal of the mural from the state Department of Labor.

— February 2011: “ The only thing that I’ve heard is if you take a plastic bottle and put it in the microwave and you heat it up, it gives off a chemical similar to estrogen. So the worst case is some women may have little beards.” — LePage saying he has yet to see enough science to support a ban on BPA, a common additive to plastics that some research suggests may interfere with hormone levels and could cause long-term problems.

— Jan. 14, 2011: “ Tell them to kiss my butt.” — LePage to reporters in response to suggestions from NAACP members and others that his decision not to attend ceremonies honoring Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was part of a negative pattern.

— September 2010: “ As your governor, you’re going to be seeing a lot of me on the front page, saying ‘Governor LePage tells Obama to go to hell.’” — LePage telling a crowd of fishermen that, if elected, they could expect to see him stand up to the Obama administration.


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