Gov. Paul LePage speaks to reporters shortly after the Maine House and Senate both voted to override his veto of the state budget, Wednesday, June 26, 2013, at the State House in Augusta, Maine.
Robert F. Bukaty/ap

Maine’s Paul LePage eyes possible resignation

Updated
The Rachel Maddow Show, 8/29/16, 10:41 PM ET

LePage cancels town hall showdown in wake of racist tirade

Mayor Colleen Hilton of Westbrook, Maine, talks with Rachel Maddow about Governor Paul LePage’s alarming behavior and racist comments and the breaking news that a town hall he had planned in her town has been cancelled.
Over the last week, Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R) has made several overly racist comments and left a threatening, expletive-laden phone message for a state legislator. This, coupled with his history of bizarre and erratic behavior, has led a variety of Maine officials to call for his resignation and question his mental stability.
 
Last night, the embattled Republican governor met privately with top GOP state lawmakers, and LePage reportedly spoke about “corrective action” he could take in the wake of the ugly controversies he created.
 
The Portland Press Herald reported this morning that LePage “raised the possibility” of resigning during an interview today.
“I’m looking at all options,” the Republican governor said while appearing on WVOM, a Bangor talk radio station. “I think some things I’ve been asked to do are beyond my ability. I’m not going to say that I’m not going to finish it. I’m not saying that I am going to finish it.”
 
He later said, “If I’ve lost my ability to help Maine people, maybe it’s time to move on.”
Reflecting on the threatening voicemail message he left for a Maine Democrat last week, LePage tried contrition for a change, saying, “When I was called a racist I just lost it, and there’s no excuse. It’s unacceptable. It’s totally my fault.”
 
The governor nevertheless believes his racist comments last week were accurate. As the Press Herald report added, LePage insisted, “Every drug arrest, we get the story and the people, and when it comes to meth labs it’s all white people from Maine. When it comes to heroin, it’s just the opposite. Whether it’s right or wrong and I’ll leave you to make that judgement, but I spoke fact.
 
“Now they are saying, you can’t do this because of the racially charged atmosphere in our country but the same token is all lives matter. That’s the bottom line, all lives matter.”
 
What happens now isn’t entirely clear. LePage indicated he’s considering stepping down, but he gave no sense of a timeline or what factors may influence his decision. The governor said this morning that Republican legislators have made “demands” of him, but LePage didn’t mention any specifics, or whether he’s prepared to meet those “demands.”
 
What’s more, let’s not forget that this isn’t the first time the far-right governor has broached the subject of quitting. As we discussed a couple of months ago, LePage, facing possible impeachment following an abuse-of-power scandal, appeared on a radio show last summer and said he was prepared to step down – under the right conditions.
 
“If the people of Maine want me, I’ll do the job,” the Republican governor said at the time. “If they don’t want me, just ask me to leave, you don’t have to impeach me.” LePage added that in his state of 1.3 million people, a grand total of four Mainers wrote to him, urging him to resign.
 
The Rachel Maddow Show filed a Freedom of Information Act request, asking the governor’s office just how many other letters LePage may have received from Mainers who asked him to quit. As it turns out, in just the one month after the governor made the comments, more than 1,800 people in Maine took the time to write to the governor, requesting that he step down.
 
LePage ignored them.
 
I mention this because the governor’s willingness to say he might quit does not mean he’s actually prepared to quit. Given LePage’s m.o., it seems just as likely the Maine Republican will wait a while, see if the controversy fades from public view, and hope people lose interest in his self-inflicted wounds.
 
 
 

Maine and Paul LePage

Maine's Paul LePage eyes possible resignation

Updated