LISTEN: Maine Gov. Paul LePage threatens Democratic lawmaker in profanity-laden voice mail

Instead of apologizing for the obscenity-laced rant, LePage challenged the man who called him a racist to a duel

By Sophia Tesfaye

Senior Politics Editor

Published August 26, 2016 2:03PM (EDT)


"I want you to record this and make it public because I am after you."

With that and a "thank you," Maine's Republican Governor Paul LePage ended his 30-second threatening rant of a voice mail left to a Democratic state lawmaker this week.

“Mr. Gattine, this is Gov. Paul Richard LePage,” the voice mail left for Rep. Drew Gattine Thursday morning began. "I would like to talk to you about your comments about my being a racist, you cock sucker," the Trump supporting governor continued.

Gattine, the House chair of the Legislature’s Health and Human Services Committee in Maine, has been a vocal critic of LePage's efforts to gut the state's welfare system and his use of racially insensitive language when describing the state's battle with rampant drug abuse.

In January, LePage said black drug dealers with the names D-Money, Smoothie, Shifty were infiltrating the state and impregnating “white girls” in Maine. On Wednesday, he doubled down on the comments, saying 90 percent of all drug dealers in Maine are black or Hispanic. He then said that he kept a three-ring binder of mugshots, to prove the point.

“I made the comment that black people are trafficking in our state, now ever since I said that comment I’ve been collecting every single drug dealer who has been arrested in our state,” the governor said at a town-hall event. “I don’t ask them to come to Maine and sell their poison, but they come and I will tell you that 90-plus percent of those pictures in my book, and it’s a three-ringed binder, are black and Hispanic people from Waterbury, Conn., the Bronx and Brooklyn.”

“What I said to the television reporter today is that the kind of racially charged comments the governor made are not at all helpful in solving what the real problem is,” Gattine explained to Portland Press Herald, referencing the reported catalyst of LePage's most recent outburst.

"I want to talk to you," LePage's voice mail to Gattine on Thursday continued. "I want you to prove that I’m a racist."

"I’ve spent my life helping black people and you little son-of-a-bitch, socialist cock sucker. You … I need you to, just friggin. I want you to record this and make it public because I am after you. Thank you.”

LePage reportedly left the voice mail for the lawmaker after a TV reporter asked the governor what he would say to people who are calling him a racist. Instead of answering the question, however, LePage asked the reporter who had called him a racist, before reportedly saying “you make me so sick,” and storming off. Gattine has denied calling LePage a racist.

“Let me tell you something: Black people come up the highway and they kill Mainers. You ought to look into that!” LePage reportedly shouted to the inquiring reporters.

But when contacted by the Press Herald later, LePage eventually fessed up to leaving the menacing rant, even seemingly bragging about the threat.

"When a snot-nosed little guy from Westbrook calls me a racist, now I'd like him to come up here because, tell you right now, I wish it were 1825," LePage said, according to the Press Herald. "And we would have a duel, that's how angry I am, and I would not put my gun in the air, I guarantee you, I would not be (Alexander) Hamilton. I would point it right between his eyes, because he is a snot-nosed little runt and he has not done a damn thing since he's been in this Legislature to help move the state forward."

Hamilton died in a duel with Aaron Burr after first firing his pistol into the air.

Listen to the voicemail below:

By Sophia Tesfaye

Sophia Tesfaye is Salon's senior editor for news and politics, and resides in Washington, D.C. You can find her on Twitter at @SophiaTesfaye.

MORE FROM Sophia Tesfaye

Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Gop Gov. Paul Lepage Racism Republican Video