Democrats say Gov. LePage not mentally fit to hold office following threats, anti-gay obscenities

Democrats say Gov. LePage not mentally fit to hold office following threats, anti-gay obscenities

“Paul LePage is not mentally or emotionally fit to hold office. His words and actions have crossed a line. Threats of violence are never acceptable and cannot be tolerated in civilized society,” said Democratic House Leadership in a press release this morning.

The statement refers to a series of escalating incidents and remarks by the governor over the past two days. First, LePage lashed out at the Khans, a Muslim family who lost a son in Iraq and who have been critical of Donald Trump. Then, at a town hall forum in North Berwick, he revealed that he keeps a three-ring binder to track the race of drug dealers in Maine and insisted that more than 90% were Black or Latino.

The next day, he yelled at reporters questioning his racially-charged remarks, saying “Black people come up the highway and they kill Mainers. You ought to look into that!” He also left an obscenity-laced and threatening voicemail for Westbrook State Representative Drew Gattine in which he repeatedly used an anti-gay slur. Afterwards, he held a meeting with reporters where he fantasized about shooting Gattine in the head.

LePage’s latest attacks are shocking, even for those who follow Maine politics and are familiar with his long history of offensive and racist remarks.

“Paul LePage explicitly threatens Rep. Drew Gattine, the Health and Human Services House Chair,” said Assistant House Majority Leader Sara Gideon in a Facebook post. “Unable to control his anger or his emotions, he spews this vitriol into a voice mail recording. It is deeply disturbing and demands the question that we and he need to ask about his mental soundness and ability to perform the functions of his office.”

It’s not clear what options legislators may pursue to hold LePage accountable. An effort to impeach the governor fizzled last year when it became clear that Republicans in the House and Senate would continue to stand with LePage.

Update: Senate Democratic Leader Justin Alfond and Assistant Senate Democratic Leader Dawn Hill have also weighed in with a statement:

“We’ve witnessed a lot of shocking behavior during Gov. LePage’s six years in the Blaine House, but the events of the last day are beyond the pale. His comments about people of color and his obscene diatribe against Rep. Gattine — not to mention the stated fantasies about killing him — are unbecoming of the office of the governor. And they raise serious questions about his temperament and capacity to lead. What comes next is ultimately the governor’s decision, but every Mainer of conscience knows that it should begin with an apology, not only to Rep. Gattine but to all the people of Maine.”

Update 2: Gideon is now calling for Gov. LePage’s resignation:

“I am calling on the governor to resign, acknowledge the real problems with his behavior and take appropriate steps to get help. I’m asking my Republican colleagues to join us in a political intervention for the sake of Maine people, the reputation of our state and the institution of the governor’s office.”

Photo via Andi Parkinson.

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