It seems at least some Republicans believe there are some lines that should not be crossed when criticizing the president.
Maine Gov. Paul LePage raised eyebrows among fellow Republicans recently when he said President Barack Obama “hates White people.”
The governor was speaking at a fundraiser and meet-and-greet with Maine’s new GOP chairman. Two other state Republican lawmakers who were there confirmed LePage’s comment to The Portland Press Herald.
The two Republicans told the newspaper that LePage said Obama could have been the best president ever if he had highlighted his biracial heritage, and hypothesized that the president had not done so because he hates White people.
“Yeah, he said it,” one of the lawmakers, both of whom asked that their names be withheld for fear of political reprisals, told the Herald. “It was one little thing from a speech, but I think most people there thought it was totally inappropriate.”
The accusation reportedly came toward the end of the governor’s remarks which were critical of the Affordable Care Act, or “Obamacare,” as it is commonly known.
Rick Bennett, the state Republican party’s new chairman, confirmed that the governor made comments about President Obama and race during the fundraiser, according to The Bangor Daily News.
“[Gov. LePage] said President Obama had an opportunity to unify the country on race, but didn’t do anything,” Bennett told the Daily News.
In response to the media coverage, Brent Littlefield, the governor's senior political adviser, issued a statement decrying insinuations that LePage is racist.
“It seems farfetched for anyone, even a newspaper, to make an insinuation the governor is racist given his life history," he said, as quoted by the Herald.
Littlefield made specific reference to Devon Raymond Jr., a native of Jamaica, who lived with the LePages while he attended high school in Maine: “(LePage) and his family made a choice and sacrifice when they offered Devon the opportunity to join their family many years ago. Paul and Ann call him their son. Paul LePage recognized many people helped him make it out of poverty and he has been determined to help others succeed.”
Still, this is not the first time LePage has landed in hot water over his outlandish statements.
During his campaign, LePage told a group of fisherman that he would tell Obama to “go to hell” if elected.
In January 2011 he declined an invitation to attend an NAACP meeting and said if they didn’t like it, he would tell them to “kiss my butt.”
And, during budget negotiations in June of this year, LePage said Maine Assistant Senate Majority Leader Troy Jackson “claims to be for the people, but he’s the first one to give it to the people without providing Vaseline.”
That’s why, some political observers said, it is entirely credible that LePage made the statement about Obama and White people.
As one fundraiser attendee, who preferred to remain anonymous, told the Daily News: “It was a typical, off the cuff, off the script, Paul LePage comment.”