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Maine Governor Skips MLK Day Events, Tells NAACP “Kiss My Butt”

Maine’s new Republican Govenor Paul LePage is getting some national attention, and not in a good way:

Maine’s governor on Friday told a major African American organization to “kiss my butt” after the group complained he wasn’t taking part in Martin Luther King Day events next week.

Paul LePage, a newly elected Republican, is facing criticism from the NAACP for turning down invitations to events marking the MLK holiday on Monday.

“Tell them to kiss my butt,” the governor, who’s been in office two weeks, said in a local TV interview.

The NAACP said earlier this week that LePage had rejected invitations to attend its events while campaigning and since taking office earlier this month.

“We don’t want to misinterpret his intention, but the message we’re getting is that we’re not welcome and we’re not part of the Maine he’s preparing to lead for the next four years,” said Rachel Talbot Ross, state director of the NAACP and president of the NAACP Portland Branch, the Kennebec Journal reported.

It seems odd indeed for a Governor to not participate in any events at all surrounding a national, and state, holiday but I suppose that’s no big deal. LePage’s blunt response, though, strikes me as not being particularly politically smart given that he barely won a plurality in a three-way election last year.

UPDATE (James Joyner): I went searching to see if there was some provocation for this reaction.   If so, it’s pretty thin.

WCSJ6:

“They are a special interest. End of story…and I’m not going to be held hostage by special interests. And if they want, they can look at my family picture. My son happens to be black, so they can do whatever they’d like about it,” said LePage.

LePage has an adopted son who is from Jamaica.

When a reporter from another television station asked LePage if his non-participation is more than one instance, and rather a pattern, he replied, “Tell ’em to kiss my butt. If they want to play the race card, come to dinner and my son will talk to them.”

Dan Demeritt, LePage’s Director of Communications, says the governor has personal commitments on Sunday and he is attending the funeral of a state trooper on Monday.

[…]

Demeritt also said as mayor of Waterville, LePage gave the welcome address at the MLK breakfasts in 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2008.

This isn’t the first time LePage has caused a stir with his comments. During the campaign, while speaking in front of a group of fishermen, then-candidate LePage said if he were elected governor, headlines would read “Governor LePage tells President Obama to go to hell.” At the time LePage said he regretted his choice of words, but stood behind the intent.

Additionally, LePage claimed that the NAACP had invited him to go to the state prison to talk to black prisoners and he told them he’d only go to meet “all prisoners and that wasn’t acceptable to them. So tough luck!”  The NAACP rejects that version of events, saying not only did they not specify the race of the prisoners but that “We would not be allowed to have that kind of program at the Maine State Prison.”

All in all, rather creepy.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Dan says:

    Considering it’s past, you can’t blame anyone for wanting to avoid a racist organization, be it the KKK, Neo-Nazis or NAACP.

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  2. Jim Henley says:

    Man, remember when the NAACP used to hang white folks and then set the corpses on fire? That was some scary shit.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

  3. Flit says:

    There is more context to the story that makes his response seem a little more understandable. I could provide it, but I want you to WORK FOR IT.

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  4. Flit says:

    Ah, nevermind. Googled for it and thought there was a legit conflict that the NAACP only wanted him to visit with black prisoners on a trip to a penitentiary on one of the planned events, but now that I look at his full set of statements, it seems like just one random excuse among “scheduling conflicts,” “special interests,” etc. So I stand corrected, he probably at least shouldn’t have issued an intemperate response.

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  5. anjin-san says:

    This smacks of an unimportant politician doing a little grandstanding in search of right wing street cred…

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  6. Dan says:

    Hmmm, yes Jim, I see now. Some racism is OK. Just don’t go too far??

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  7. michael reynolds says:

    I’m not getting racist here, more douchebag. Whether it rises to the level of turbo-douche only time will tell.

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  8. An Interested Party says:

    “Considering it’s past, you can’t blame anyone for wanting to avoid a racist organization, be it the KKK, Neo-Nazis or NAACP.”

    How, exactly, is the NAACP a “racist” organization to be mentioned in the same breath as Neo-Nazis and the KKK?

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  9. Jim Henley says:

    No, Dan. What you should “see” is that your grouping (KKK, NAACP, neo-nazis) is bullshit. I do realize it’s in your self-interest NOT to see this though.

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  10. michael reynolds says:

    KKK = NAACP in much the same way that Nazi = Warsaw ghetto resistance or rapist = rape victim and child molester = child.

    But Dan is accurately reflecting the right wing’s attitude on race. If World War 2 had gone the other way guys like Dan and Glen Beck and Rush Limbaugh would be decrying the efforts of the few surviving Jews to tell the truth about history.

    After all, white men are history’s biggest victims. Waaah.

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  11. Davebo says:

    Go write a post Jim. Thoreau is getting worn out.

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  12. MarkedMan says:

    I hate this kind of cheap stunt. Maine has a very small African-American population. He is just chest thumping and acting the big-man, talking about how brave he is standing up to what must be a pretty small group. His base will talk about how heroic he is, but lets face facts – its not like he stood up to anybody with serious power in Maine.

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  13. sam says:

    Gee, you know that ‘TP’, in addition to being shorthand for an evanescent political movement, also means asswipe.

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  14. Dan says:

    michael reynolds says:
    Saturday, January 15, 2011 at 15:32
    KKK = NAACP in much the same way that Nazi = Warsaw ghetto resistance or rapist = rape victim and child molester = child.

    But Dan is accurately reflecting the right wing’s attitude on race. If World War 2 had gone the other way guys like Dan and Glen Beck and Rush Limbaugh would be decrying the efforts of the few surviving Jews to tell the truth about history.

    After all, white men are history’s biggest victims. Waaah.

    And exactly how, Mr. Reynolds, could you make the mistake of taking me for a white man?

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  15. michael reynolds says:

    Dan:

    No black man would lump the NAACP in with the KKK. Not unless he was mentally ill.

    That does leave some other possibilities. But if you’re a black guy seek help.

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  16. Ethan says:

    LePage has a job to do and that is to get the State back on track. He is concentrating less on the more “ceremonial” aspects of the governor position (unlike many of the past governors) and more on managing our state and what will bring us out of the economic shit hole that we’re in now. As far as his “scheduling conflicts” he has personal reasons on sunday and is attending the funeral of a Maine State Trooper on monday; I myself find that to be a pretty valid reason for not attending a ceremonial event. I highly doubt he is a racist whatsoever. He is a man with a job to do and is not going to let special interest groups step in his way.

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  17. Ernieyeball says:

    “He is a man with a job to do and is not going to let special interest groups step in his way.”
    That is why he wants Black folks to kiss his butt. So he can do his job!?!

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  18. […] Maine Governor Skips MLK Day Events, Tells NAACP “Kiss My Butt” (outsidethebeltway.com) […]

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  19. Dan says:

    Yes Michael it does leave other possibilities. For one, it leaves the possibility that I am sick of other black Americans consistently making excuses for me. Based on immoral actions that occurred generations ago, and that a white government addressed with administrative, civil and criminal laws in the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s and 90’s, I don’t need the albatross of the NAACP hanging around my neck. When will it ever be enough?
    As for seeking help, it appears from your derisive and mean comments that you should take your own advise.

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  20. Jay Tea says:

    A couple of facts not yet presented:

    1) Maine has a substantial refugee population from Africa — there’s a good-sized enclave of Sudanese and Somali political refugees in and around Portland. You gotta feel bad for people from sub-Saharan Africa having to adapt to New England winters.

    2) The NAACP does NOT “own” black Americans or the civil rights movement. They have a lengthy history of some truly rank political partisanship, including attacking the Tea Party movement for perceived racism and former NAACP president Kweisi Mfume using the position for attack President Bush and explicitly calling on NAACP members to give money to elect Democrats and defeat Republicans — a violation of the law.

    3) As noted, Governor LePage not only has his plate full getting his state back on solid ground, and other obligations, he has no need to demonstrate that he is no racist. His adopted son trumps any whining by the NAACP.

    J.

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  21. michael reynolds says:

    Dan:

    If you really are black, and you really think you should lump the NAACP — a civil rights organization which fought for the rights you currently enjoy, including the right to eat in a restaurant and vote — in with the KKK — a terrorist organization that regularly hanged, burned and castrated black men — at the very least you need to sit down and talk to your parents or grandparents.

    Frankly you sound like a deeply ignorant and immature child. (Although of course you may just have a mental illness which would make it not your fault.)

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  22. Jay Tea says:

    michael, times have changed. Neither the Klan or the NAACP are what they were.

    The Klan is a (pardon the expression) a pale shadow of its former self. Its main function is to serve as a boogeyman for liberals to exploit.

    The NAACP has abandoned its moral standing and is now an owned-and-operated subsidiary of the Democratic Party. It has no use for blacks who demonstrate independence or conservative beliefs.

    Times change, michael. You really ought to keep up.

    j.

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  23. An Interested Party says:

    Nothing that Dan or Jay Tea wrote justifies the ridiculous assertion that the NAACP is in the same category as Neo-Nazis or the KKK…anyone making that argument is either delusional and/or uneducated…

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  24. Jay Tea says:

    Well, then, Interested, isn’t it a good thing that I didn’t lump them in together, isn’t it? Or stick up for the ridiculous premise that they belong together?

    J.

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  25. An Interested Party says:

    Why yes it is, oh, by the way, I never claimed that you did that…

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  26. Scott says:

    Before posting a comment one should consider doing there research! Is the supposed adopted son of Govenor Paul LePage really adopted by Mr. LePage? After doing some research I have heard he hasn’t adopted him yet. So is Mr. LePage being honest in his statement? No he isn’t! Also as a Government Official they are held to a Higher Standard…so making a statement like the one he did “Kiss My Butt” that can be heard in a High School Locker Room or a Bar leaves a lot to be desired. Honestly it makes me wonder what the people that voted for him were thinking. Thank God I didn’t vote for him.

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  27. SaffronJane says:

    First of all, this man is a man of office and should set an example of our country’s leaders. His comment is bullyish and his twice mentioning his “black” son seems a bit odd. It doesn’t appear the NAACP referred to him as being racist just if he had an agenda. His comments may be exposing exactly what he is trying to hide. Or he is just a spotlight seeker and wants his 15 minutes of fame. Well, Governor, this isn’t a reality show.

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  28. SaffronJane says:

    And for those of you that keep insisting the NAACP is racist. Please do some research…lest you make all of us white people look like uneducated rednecks. The NAACP was found one hundred years ago…one hundred and 2 as a matter of fact. It was instituted by mainly white people…like black people could have started their own organization in the very early 1900’s…mainly because the treatment of “black” children was close to heinous. The white majority oppressed these children and were not allowing them equal access to equal education…which obviously would keep “them” in “their” place. It was decent white folks who felt this was an injustice to do to any child and began this organization. Yes, if you are white and you need help…you are being discriminated against..you may call the NAACP. Get over the name…it used to be something like the National Negro Foundation or something. The name itself is born of racism, but did you ever think they didn’t change it so people would remember what can happen when a government allows cultural genocide?

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  29. Marthastew says:

    @ Ethan: If the governor needs to deal with less “ceremonial” aspects of the job, why bother attending a state trooper’s funeral?? That’s got nothing to do with Maine’s economy. As for the “black son” claim, what was so wrong with the governor adopting a black child from the United States? Why do white people feel the need to get over their “guilt” by adopting black kids from other countries? Heaven knows there are plenty of kids on the adoption rolls here. I guess they must seem less exotic. Or perhaps like Palin’s disabled son, he’s using his as a “human shield.”

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  30. The Q says:

    So I guess if this were memorial day and he was asked to lay a wreath at the tomb of the Maine soldiers lost in WW2 and he was “busy” with personal issues and the VFW looked at this rather regretfully, do any of you right wing kooks seriously believe that he would have told them to “kiss my ass”?

    And you wonder why the much more intelligent liberals in this country weep with distress at such conservative idiocy.

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  31. […] refused to join in MLK Day events on Monday. When challenged by the NAACP, he told the group to “kiss my butt.” He then played the race card, pointing out that he has an adopted “black son,” ergo, he […]

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  32. Einstein says:

    The NAACP is an extremely racist organization which no politician should associate with. Only racist scumbags like Jesse “Cut Off Their Balls” Jackson, Fat Al Sharpton and Louis “Kill All Crackers” Farrakhan are close with this worthless organization because that is their power base.

    As far as MLK goes, his FBI files were sealed until 2025 because of his ties to communists in the Soviet Union, promiscuity and bizarre sexual habits. I believe before they made this mans birthday a national holiday we should have had access to all information concerning his activities, especially the ones involving treason These days the powers that be choose treasonous communists to reside in the White House and rule over us like a dictator, appointing criminals to high positions without being vetted by the Senate and creating draconian unconstitutional laws while bypassing congressional legislative processes.

    It is our duty to throw out a corrupt government that has turned to fascism and replace it with a true constitutional government of and by the people. The US government has been hijacked by corrupt international banksters of the Rothschild Banking Mafia.

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