POLITICS

Maine's Gov. LePage hints at resigning, and then totally discounts the idea

FILE- In this June 7, 2016, file photo, Maine Gov. Paul LePage attends an opioid abuse conference in Boston. LePage is being accused again of making racially insensitive comments, this time by saying photos he's collected in a binder of drug dealers arrested in the state show more than 90 percent of them are black or Hispanic. The governor made the remark at a town hall in North Berwick, Maine, Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2016. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer, File)

FILE- In this June 7, 2016, file photo, Maine Gov. Paul LePage attends an opioid abuse conference in Boston. LePage is being accused again of making racially insensitive comments, this time by saying photos he's collected in a binder of drug dealers arrested in the state show more than 90 percent of them are black or Hispanic. The governor made the remark at a town hall in North Berwick, Maine, Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2016. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer, File)  (Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistribu)

In the span of only a few hours, Maine Gov. Paul LePage has gone from hinting that he will resign from office to adamantly discounting the possibility.

During an appearance on a morning radio talk show, LePage said that there was a possibility that he might not finish his term in office, saying that he was “looking at all options.”

“I think some things I’ve been asked to do are beyond my ability. I’m not going to say that I’m not going to finish it. I’m not saying that I am going to finish it,” the Republican governor said, according to the Portland Press Herald. “If I’ve lost my ability to help Maine people, maybe it’s time to move on.”

Only six hours later, however, LePage – or someone in his office – took to social media to let the world know that he had no intention of stepping down.

“Regarding rumors of resignation, to paraphrase Mark Twain: ‘The reports of my political demise are greatly exaggerated,’” he tweeted.

LePage is currently embroiled in a scandal stemming from the controversial comments he made during a North Berwick town hall meeting earlier this month in which he said he keeps a three-ringed binder of photos from drug busts, and that 90 percent of the suspects are black or Hispanic.

A day later, in an expletive-filled voicemail, the governor lashed out at Democratic State Rep. Drew Gattine who the governor says called him a racist. LePage later told reporters that he wished he could point a gun between the legislator's eyes.

LePage apologized Friday to "the people of Maine" but not to Gattine. LePage said his outburst was justified because Gattine called him a racist — something Gattine has repeatedly denied. The governor later gave a radio interview in which he repeatedly apologized to the lawmaker – and even invited him to his house.

Both Republican and Democratic lawmakers in Maine have said they are troubled that LePage continues to bring race into the debate over drugs.

On Monday, the governor released a statement saying: "You try to identify the enemy and the enemy right now, the overwhelming majority of people coming in, are people of color or people of Hispanic origin.”

A day later, he brought race into the issue again.

“The fact of the matter is this: I got all of my info in my book from the press. It’s that simple,” he said Tuesday, according to the Portland Press. “Every drug arrest, we get the story and the people, and when it comes to meth labs it’s all white people from Maine. When it comes to heroin, it’s just the opposite. Whether it’s right or wrong and I’ll leave you to make that judgment, but I spoke fact.

“Now they are saying, you can’t do this because of the racially charged atmosphere in our country but the same token is all lives matter. That’s the bottom line, all lives matter.”

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