Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R) raised eyebrows last week when he called the IRS “the new Gestapo.” Soon after, he issued a statement saying “the use of the word Gestapo has clouded my message,” but in person, the governor didn’t sound especially apologetic.
This morning, LePage appeared in Vermont, where he spoke at a fundraiser for Republican gubernatorial candidate Randy Brock, and the far-right Maine Republican started the mess all over again (thanks to reader B.S. for the tip).
Standing by Brock’s side at the Sheraton in South Burlington, the Maine governor said, “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. Maybe the IRS is not quite as bad – yet.”
LePage then said, “They’re headed in that direction.”
Asked if he had a sense of what the Gestapo did during the second world war, LePage said, “Yeah, they killed a lot of people.” Asked whether the IRS “was headed in the direction of killing a lot of people,” LePage answered: “Yeah.”
If you’re skeptical that LePage could be this absurd, there’s an audio recording of the exchange.
So, in the mind of the governor of Maine, the IRS reminds him of Nazis, then he’s sorry, then he’s comfortable saying the IRS is headed in the “direction” of Nazis and “killing a lot of people.”
During the same appearance, LePage was asked if his comments might be seen as offensive. “Well, let’s put it this way,” he replied. “I apologize to Jewish Americans if they feel offended. But I also apologize to Japanese Americans that were put in prison during World War II.”
Asked whether the IRS is heading in the direction of interning people, LePage said: “I don’t know. I don’t know.”
For the record, LePage did not appear to be kidding.