Gov. LePage invokes resignation possibility: ‘I’m looking at all of the options’
AUGUSTA (WGME/BDN) -- Once again Governor Paul LePage is apologizing for his controversial comments about a Democratic lawmaker, and for the first time the governor admits it might be time for him to move on from the Blaine House.
During his weekly radio appearance on WVOM Tuesday morning, Governor LePage says he's considering a range of options, and one of those options is stepping down as governor of the State of Maine.
The governor admits he lost his temper when he left that voicemail message with profanity for Representative Drew Gattine.
He says he couldn't breathe because he was so angry at being called a racist, even though Gattine says he never called the governor a racist.
He apologized to Gattine's family, his own family, and the people of Maine Tuesday. LePage says at this point he is taking what's next one step at a time.
"Can we anticipate that you're going to finish out your term?" WVOM host George Hale asked Governor LePage.
"I don't know, George. As I said earlier, I’m looking at all options. I think some things I’ve been asked to do are beyond my ability. And 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. What I’m going to do right now is I’m taking one step at a time. I want to meet with Mr. Gattine. Then I want to meet with my team at the office. And we're going to look at what's the proper options to move the state forward,” Governor LePage responded.
The controversy around LePage’s comments, which included him saying that more than 90 percent of drug dealers who peddle heroin in Maine are black or Hispanic people from New York, Massachusetts and Connecticut, intensified over the weekend. Some lawmakers are calling for LePage’s resignation; others are suggesting disciplinary action such as a censure. Republican lawmakers have a caucus meeting scheduled for Tuesday to discuss the issue.
Democratic House leaders released the following statement Tuesday on LePage’s remarks on WVOM.
“Today Maine finds itself in a situation where leaders and legislators of both parties agree that the Governor is preventing the people’s business from getting done. A half-hearted, partial apology on a radio show does not get remotely close to addressing the core issue: Maine faces serious issues and its government is not functioning.
“This is not a partisan issue. People of good faith on both sides of the aisle as well as newspapers across the state are demanding the real action required to have a functioning government. The Governor this morning said ‘some of the things I am being asked to do are beyond my ability’ and added ‘maybe it is time to move on.’
“Our elected officials need to be accountable and on the record today. Leadership from both parties needs to get in the same room and discuss these very serious issues. The Legislature has a constitutional responsibility to ensure the people of Maine have a functioning state government.”
Governor LePage met with House and Senate Republican leaders Monday night. He says some things he's been asked to do he can do. Others he says he cannot do, but he would not go into specifics.
He says he hopes the people of Maine can forgive him, have him clean up his act, and move forward from this. But right now, he says he just doesn't know.
He ended by saying if he's lost his ability to convince the people of Maine what's best for the state then maybe it's time to move on.
However, Gov. LePage tweeted Tuesday afternoon that the "rumors of resignation, to paraphrase Mark Twain: "The reports of my political demise are greatly exaggerated."
In the meantime, an anti-LePage rally at Capitol Park, which is just across the street from the State House and governor’s mansion in Augusta, is scheduled for this evening. LePage attempted to schedule his next town hall on Wednesday in Westbrook, which is Gattine’s hometown, but officials there voted Monday night to cancel the event.
Governor LePage says that he regrets calling Gattine. He is meeting with the local legislator tomorrow to clear the air.
LePage says he hopes the people of Maine will forgive his actions, but he is not backing off his original statement about drug dealers in Maine.