At a meet and greet fundraiser last week, Maine’s Republican Governor Paul LePage told a room full of supporters that President Obama “hates white people.”
The comments, which were picked up by the Portland Press Herald, came during a speech from the governor at a private fundraiser in Belgrade, ME. Donors from across the state were invited to meet LePage and the state’s new party chairman Rick Bennett.
The speech was not recorded, but the paper managed to get confirmation from a couple of attendees:
Two Republican lawmakers confirmed the comment when asked directly by a Press Herald reporter, but asked that their names be withheld for fear of political retribution. Each said LePage talked about how Obama could have been the best president ever if he highlighted his biracial heritage. But, LePage said, the president hasn’t done that because he hates white people.
“Yeah, he said it,” said one lawmaker. “It was one little thing from a speech, but I think most people there thought it was totally inappropriate.”
The governor’s senior political adviser Brent Littlefield eventually released a statement after the remark began to circulate in the state media, saying that any insinuation that LePage was a racist seemed “farfetched.” According to the Press Herald, the statement also cited LePage’s past involvement in Martin Luther King Jr. commemoration events, though neglected to mention the instance in which the governor declined an invitation to participate in a similar event from the NAACP and told the civil rights organization to “kiss my butt.”
Since assuming office in 2011, LePage has left a trail of controversy in his wake. Last year, he likened the IRS to “the new gestapo,” warning that the agency would one day be in the business of “killing lots of people.” He denounced the most recent Democratic budget by making an anal rape joke, vowed to repeal Maine’s child labor laws, and blacklisted three of the state’s biggest newspapers after they published a report excoriating his administration for undermining the state’s environmental protections.