Maine Gov. Paul LePage suggested Thursday that his relationship with the media has deteriorated to the point that he devises ways to mislead reporters.
In his weekly appearance on Portland radio station WGAN, LePage used three words to the Maine press — “vile,” “useless” and “inaccurate.” He went on to say that society will be much better off when the printed press goes away.
Apparently, his regard for reporters is low enough that he goes out of his way to fabricate stories that he knows the press will chase.
“I just love to sit in my office and make up ways so they’ll write these stupid stories. I mean, they are just so stupid it’s awful,” LePage said.
The governor’s comments came in response to reports that he planned to leave the state during the middle of a state government shutdown and budget negotiations. The reports were based on interviews with Republican lawmakers, who said the governor told them personally that he was leaving for vacation.
Republican Sen. Roger Katz, who served on the budget conference committee, says the governor’s comments were unambiguous and to the point. After a public records request, he provided a voicemail from LePage to support that.
“Yeah Roger, this Gov. LePage, I’m heading out of town for about 10 days and I’d like to speak to you before I leave. So could you give me a call please? Thank you,” LePage said in the voicemail.
LePage had a different story.
“It all started by saying, ‘My pen is on vacation, it has nothing to sign.’ That was how this started,” he said.
LePage’s admission that he thinks of ways to mislead the press follows a track record of inaccurate or demonstrably false statements.
Last year he repeatedly claimed that a student at Deering High School in Portland was revived several times from an overdose, only to have school officials and the police say the story was false.
His assertion that blacks and Hispanics account for “90-plus percent” of heroin trafficking arrests in the state was debunked by FBI data, and by a binder of mugshots the governor ordered his staff to compile.
And on Thursday, the governor repeated claims that Republican lawmakers had their vehicles vandalized during shutdown protests by furloughed state employees.
Capitol Police told the Kennebec Journal Wednesday that one lawmaker’s car had a mark that rubbed off and appeared unintentional. The other lawmaker’s car was damaged at his home in Lincoln and the cause has not been determined.
This story originally appeared on Maine Public.
This segment aired on July 7, 2017.