Maine Republican leader keeps pressure on embattled Tea Party Gov. Paul LePage
The president of Maine’s state Senate on Wednesday called on embattled Governor Paul LePage to “do the right thing” the day after his fellow Republican publicly floated the idea of resigning over a threatening expletive-laden voicemail message.
The remarks from Senator Michael Thibodeau came the morning after the Republican minority leader of the state House, Ken Fredette, told reporters he had accepted LePage’s apology for calling a Democratic lawmaker a “little son-of-a-bitch, socialist cocksucker” and that it was time to move on.
Lawmakers in both parties are mulling whether to call a special session to take disciplinary action against LePage, whose remarks were directed at a lawmaker the governor believed had called him a racist.
“With all due respect, I completely disagree with Representative Fredette’s position. The Republican senate caucus has clearly stated that we need an acceptable plan for corrective action before the determination of whether the Legislature should convene is made,” Thibodeau said in a statement. “We implore the governor to do the right thing.”
State house Democrats took a firmer line, calling on LePage to step down.
“Every day, Paul LePage gives Maine people more evidence that he is unfit for office. The governor is not mentally able to serve and needs to resign,” House Majority Leader Jeff McCabe and Assistant Majority Leader Sara Gideon said in a joint statement late on Tuesday.
In a regularly scheduled Tuesday morning radio interview, LePage mulled the idea of stepping down, saying that he was not necessarily committed to finishing his term and adding, “It’s one thing not to have one party behind you, it’s another thing not to have any party behind you.”
Hours later he changed his tune, paraphrasing Mark Twain on Twitter saying, “The reports of my political demise are greatly exaggerated,” before trying to change the subject with a series of messages on a visit to a tissue factory.
LePage is scheduled to meet on Wednesday with Thibodeau and state Representative Drew Gattine, the recipient of his angry voicemail last week.
The controversy grew out of LePage’s repeated statements that the state’s heroin trade was caused by out-of-state drug traffickers who he has repeatedly described as mostly members of minority groups.
(Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)