At a speech in Vermont today, Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R) attempted to walk back his earlier comment calling the IRS “the new Gestapo.” He failed.
“What I am trying to say is the Holocaust was a horrific crime against humanity and, frankly, I would never want to see that repeated,” LePage said to Paul Heintz, a reporter from Burlington’s Seven Days at a fundraiser in Vermont. “Maybe the IRS is not quite as bad — yet.”
On Saturday, LePage said in his weekly radio address, “You must buy health insurance or pay the new Gestapo – the IRS.” After outcry from Jewish groups including the Anti-Defamation League, the governor released a statement partially backtracking his comments. On Wednesday, the head of the union representing IRS employees also demanded an apology for the insensitive remark, saying his rhetoric put federal employees in danger. But
LePage doubled down when confronted, even when Heintz pressed him:
HEINTZ: Do you have a sense of what the Gestapo actually did during World War II?
LEPAGE: Yeah. They killed a lot of people.
HEINTZ: So the IRS is headed in that direction? They’re headed in the direction of killing a lot of people?
HEINTZ: Wait, are you serious?
LePage spokeswoman Adrienne Bennett said the governor’s “radio message that will be released on Friday will also include an apology for language that may have offended people.”