Maine governor Paul LePage has issued an apology after leaving an obscenity-riddled voicemail for a state legislator.
In his message on his official website, however, LePage denied actually threatening representative Drew Gattine.
LePage made headlines on Friday after leaving a message for Gattine calling him a “little son of a bitch” and a “socialist c–ksucker.” According to the Portland Press Herald, LePage also encouraged Gattine to make the message public “because I am after you.”
LePage left the message after a reporter apparently suggested that Gattine called him a racist, a charge that Gattine denied. The suggestion came after LePage made comments about the racial makeup of drug-trafficking suspects in Maine.
In a statement on his office’s website on Friday, LePage wrote, “When someone calls me a racist, I take it very seriously. I didn’t know Drew Gattine from a hole in the wall until yesterday. It made me enormously angry when a TV reporter asked me for my reaction about Gattine calling me a racist. It is the absolute worst, most vile thing you can call a person.”
The statement continued, “So I called Gattine and used the worst word I could think of. I apologize for that to the people of Maine, but I make no apology for trying to end the drug epidemic that is ravaging our state. Legislators like Gattine would rather be politically correct and protect ruthless drug dealers than work with me to stop this crisis that is killing five Mainers a week.”
LePage went on to deny that he planned to physically harm Gattine.
“When I said I was going after Gattine, I meant I would do everything I could to see that he and his agenda is defeated politically. I am a history buff, and I referenced how political opponents used to call each other out in the 1820s — including Andrew Jackson, the father of the Democratic Party,” LePage said.
“Obviously, it is illegal today; it was simply a metaphor and I meant no physical harm to Gattine. But I am calling him out to stop giving inflammatory sound bites and get to work to end this crisis that is killing Mainers, destroying families and creating drug-addicted babies, all so the drug dealers Gattine is protecting can make a profit,” the governor concluded.