Maine — “I’m sorry, but I’d tell you the sooner the print press goes away the better society will be.”
Controversial Maine Governor Paul LePage made that comment during a radio interview with local media on Thursday. The response was prompted by questions regarding reports that claimed the governor was planning to take a 10-day vacation during important budget negotiations amid a government shutdown.
LePage admits he told two state lawmakers during phone calls that he intended to leave the state but said he did it as a ruse to get them to call him back. The governor, a Republican, claims that when those lawmakers went to the media with their tale, both legislators and reporters were playing right into his hands.
“I just love to sit in my office and make up ways so they’ll write these stupid stories because they are just so stupid, it’s awful,” LePage told WGAN-AM.
As an example of the indignation born of the governor’s alleged prank, take what Maine’s Democratic House Speaker Sara Gideon told local media on Monday:
“It is the biggest abdication of responsibility that I have ever witnessed, and every person in this state should be absolutely outraged by it.”
LePage says the Maine media — which he called “vile and inaccurate” — jumped the gun on the story and that he considers the whole affair to be part of the “fake news” cycle. But this story is far from the first time Governor LePage has slammed his state’s media.
In 2012, while speaking before a group of eighth-graders, the governor told kids that reading newspapers in Maine is “like paying somebody to tell you lies.”
While participating in a fighter jet simulation back in 2013, he was asked what targets he had in mind. “I want to find the Portland Press Herald building and blow it up,” the governor replied.