Maine Gov. Paul LePage suggested that the United States might benefit if a victorious Donald Trump exercised “authoritarian power” to balance out the past eight years of President Barack Obama’s tenure.
The embattled Republican governor’s apparent endorsement of “some” authoritarianism — a political system based on unlimited governmental power and limited personal liberties — came during an interview on a conservative radio show in Maine. He also accused Obama of being an autocrat, which is an absolute ruler, such as a monarch or dictator, who has all the power of the state in his or her hands.
“Sometimes I wonder that our Constitution is not only broken but we need a Donald Trump to show some authoritarian power in our country and bring back the rule of law,” LePage told George Hale and Ric Tyler of WVOM Tuesday morning, “because we’ve had eight years of a president that just — he’s an autocrat, he just does it on his own, he ignores Congress, and every single day, we’re slipping into anarchy. I just think four more years of a similar mentality is going to destroy this nation.”
LePage also dismissed the controversy surrounding Trump’s vulgar conversation about women from 2005. He conceded that Trump may be “a slimeball,” and he wouldn’t want the real estate tycoon to date his daughter, but said that national security and the national debt are more important. Furthermore, he attacked former President Bill Clinton for the Monica Lewinsky scandal.
“It’s one thing to be in a locker room and talk. It’s another thing to be the White House and do it,” he said. “I’m sorry, guys.”
According to LePage, the major divide is not between Democrats and Republicans but between “the elite and the common man.” He accused Obama of “want[ing] to really destroy our country.”
Alison Beyea, the executive director of the ACLU of Maine, condemned LePage’s call for an authoritarian leader to protect the Constitution, noting that the Constitution was intended to protect against authoritarianism.
“The Constitution was written to protect Americans from against the very thing Gov. LePage is calling for — an all-powerful, overreaching government,” she said in a statement. “The governor says he wants to bring back the rule of law, but it actually sounds like he wants to replace the rule of law with the rule of tyranny.”
This is not the first time LePage’s brash talk has landed him in the national spotlight. Last summer, he said he had collected information about people trafficking drugs into Maine in a three-ring binder of people and that most offenders are Hispanic and black people from the New York City boroughs of Brooklyn and the Bronx or from Waterbury, Conn.
Maine Rep. Drew Gattine accused him a racism for the comments and, subsequently, received a threatening, profanity-laden voicemail in response. LePage called him a “socialist c***sucker” and told local reporters that he wishes it were the 19th century so he could settle their dispute in a duel.
In late September, the Washington Post published an editorial titled “Maine’s unhinged governor,” calling for LePage to resign. His term is set to last until 2018.
“LePage threatens to remake his state’s image from a vacation paradise of surreal natural beauty to a hotbed of hatred,” the editorial board wrote.
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