Paul LePage, who has fantasized about shooting his critics on more than one occasion, says Susan Collins has done 'a marvelous job.'
Former Maine Gov. Paul LePage, infamous for multiple racist and generally inflammatory statements made while he held office, endorsed Republican Sen. Susan Collins for reelection Friday.
"I absolutely endorse Sen. Collins. I never had a problem with her," LePage said. "We have some issues. We may have policy issues once in a while, but I’ve always supported her."
The former Republican governor, who served from 2011 until January of this year, gushed that Collins "has done such a marvelous job as a legislator."
LePage's endorsement comes as Collins faces significant national opposition to her serving another term. She has dropped considerably in opinion polling over the last few years and has now been ranked by voters as the second most unpopular senator in Congress, second only to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
Collins has repeatedly voted for Trump's agenda, ranking among the top Republican senators to do so. She was instrumental in securing a Supreme Court seat for Brett Kavanaugh, despite credible allegations against him of sexual assault.
Collins recently complained about being pressured to address gun violence in the wake of the mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton, calling it "extremely disappointing."
"There are times for political debate," she told a conservative radio show host, "but this is not one of them."
Now, the LePage endorsement adds more baggage to her campaign. He was among the five least popular governors in the country, with 58% of voters disapproving of him.
Here are a few of LePage's racist outbursts and inflammatory remarks over the years:
- LePage told NAACP leaders in 2011 that they could "kiss my butt" after they criticized him for not attending events honoring Martin Luther King Day.
- In 2016, LePage complained about drug traffickers named "D-Money, Smoothie, Shifty" who purportedly go to the state and sell drugs and "impregnate a young, white girl."
- Asked about the comment, LePage said he had a binder of drug arrestees where "90-plus per cent of those pictures in my book, and it's a three-ringed binder, are black and Hispanic people." He didn't provide the binder when reporters asked.
- After a state representative criticized him for the racist comments, LePage called him and left a profane voicemail, calling the lawmaker a "son of a bitch, socialist cocksucker."
- When reporters asked about the voicemail, LePage said he should "have a duel" with the legislator, adding, "I would not put my gun in the air" but instead "I would point it right between his eyes."
- LePage tried to intimidate voters in 2016, promoting conspiracy theories about college students voting in Maine and simultaneously "in their home states." The comments prompted a request from the ACLU asking the Department of Justice to investigate him.
- LePage said asylum seekers were "the biggest problem" in Maine, and claimed they were "bringing hepatitis C, tuberculosis, AIDS, HIV and the 'ziki fly' [Zika virus]" with them.
- In 2015, LePage told the son of a newspaper cartoonist that he would "like to shoot" the father.
- LePage claimed at a 2013 fundraiser that President Barack Obama "hates white people."
- That same year, LePage said a Democratic lawmaker "claims to be for the people but he’s the first one to give it to the people without providing Vaseline."
- LePage said the IRS was "the new Gestapo" during a radio address to the state. Asked about the comments, he said that like the Gestapo, the IRS was headed in the direction of killing a lot of people.
Collins now has to decide how much she will embrace LePage. Given that she endorsed his reelection campaign in 2014, it seems unlikely she will reject his help now.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.