Susan Deschambault, a Maine Democrat, recently won a state Senate special election, and as part of the process, she was invited to Gov. Paul LePage’s (R) office for an official swearing-in ceremony. So, Deschambault and her family drove 72 miles, arriving at the governor’s office bright and early on Friday morning for her 9 a.m. appointment.
What she did not know, however, is that LePage preferred to throw a tantrum, refusing to swear Deschambault in because the far-right governor is mad at Democratic legislators. The Portland Press Herald reported:
Gov. Paul LePage abruptly canceled a swearing-in ceremony Friday morning for a newly elected senator in response to Democratic lawmakers’ votes against one of his nominees.Senator-elect Susan Deschambault, a Democrat who won a special election Tuesday for the Senate District 32 seat representing the Biddeford area, showed up with her family at LePage’s office for her scheduled swearing-in at 8:50 a.m. only to be told the event had been canceled.
According to LePage’s spokesperson, the governor – a grown adult – was looking for payback. Apparently, the Republican nominated a conservative talk radio figure to serve on the Maine Unemployment Insurance Commission, but Democrats defeated the nomination last week.
The unhappy governor, in an “I’ll show you…” frame of mind, took out his frustrations on Deschambault, turning her and her family away when they showed up for the ceremonial event.
The newly elected Democrat reportedly thought this was some kind of April Fool’s joke, before realizing that LePage wasn’t kidding. He simply wouldn’t swear her in.
The Bangor Daily News ran a piece over the weekend, wondering what in the world LePage hoped to gain from this: “What was gained by refusing to swear in Susan Deschambault? Nothing. Literally nothing…. Now the story is about how a woman who won an election had her family travel to the capital to celebrate her accomplishment, only to have made the trip for nothing because of a partisan disagreement. How is this a win?”
The NBC affiliate in Portland reported yesterday that the governor’s office announced that the newly elected lawmaker will eventually be sworn in – when LePage feels like it.
Two days after the ceremony was postponed, Gov. LePage attended the opening of a store in Swanville. When asked whether or not the oath would happen, he answered, “Yeah, she’s going to be sworn in. But it’s not on her schedule. My schedule is a little busier than hers.”When pressed further if he would be the person to administer the oath, he said, “Of course I am. You know, they kick you and beat you and slap you over the head. And then the very next morning at 8 o’clock, they’re there before you put your briefcase down, your cup of coffee on the desk, they want to be sworn in. She will be sworn in according to the laws of the Constitution of the State of Maine.”
In case you were wondering, Deschambault’s special-election victory did nothing to change the makeup of the chamber – the 35-member Maine Senate will still have a Republican majority, 20 to 15, even after she’s sworn in. In other words, there’s no legislative or policy reason to delay the process.
Rather, this is just a clownish governor throwing the latest in a series of tantrums, simply because he can.