Maine Governor Paul LePage canceled a swearing-in ceremony for a newly appointed Democratic senator because he was allegedly furious after liberals rejected one of his nominees. The Portland Press-Herald reports that Senator-elect Susan Deschambault was told that her scheduled Friday morning swearing-in ceremony had been abruptly canceled after she and her family had spent hours driving to the state capital.
A spokesperson for LePage said the Republican governor canceled the ceremony in response to Democrats voting against Steven Webster’s nomination to the Maine Unemployment Insurance Commission. The Labor, Commerce, Research and Economic Development Committee voted 7-6 along party lines against Webster’s nomination Thursday.
“Democrats treated Steve Webster despicably and it’s unfortunate that good people get caught up in political games,” a statement from his spokesperson read. “Governor LePage has not sworn Ms. Deschambault in yet. The governor has five days to do so.”
The move was met with anger from Democrats who say LePage is engaging in petty politics.
“Today’s decision is shameful,” Senate Minority Leader Justin Alfond, D-Portland, said at a news conference. “It’s disrespectful to Susan, her family and to 38,101 voters of Senate District 32. The governor is denying the people of Senate District 32 of having a voice.”
“If this is his idea of an April Fool’s joke, it is not funny,” Maine Democratic Party Chairman Phil Bartlett was quoted as saying.”Once again, the governor decides to throw a temper tantrum and refuse to do his job because he did not get his way.”
Deschambault spoke to reporters after she learned that her swearing-in ceremony had been canceled, saying that she initially thought the cancellation was an April Fools’ joke.
“The governor owes it to the state and owes it to a group of people in southern Maine who are waiting to have someone represent them and vote for them and their interests,” Deschambault said. “That’s been since the end of January. It took a long time to get elected. I am here today and I am waiting and waiting, and so are the people back home.”
In the past, LePage has been involved in several political squabbles with legislators, both Democrats and Republicans alike. According to the Daily Beast, since being elected in 2010, LePage has repeatedly made use of rants designed to rally white middle-class resentment and garner media attention for his pet causes. He has been called “combative” by the New York Times; Politico says he’s “crazy”; and the Huffington Post brands him a “racist.”
Earlier this year, LePage was forced to issue an apology over backlash he received after he used racially-charged language to explain his state’s drug epidemic.
The following text is what the staunch Donald Trump supporter said during a press conference regarding Maine’s heroin problem.
“The traffickers—these aren’t people who take drugs. These are guys by the name D-Money, Smoothie, Shifty. These type of guys that come from Connecticut and New York. They come up here, they sell their heroin, then they go back home. Incidentally, half the time they impregnate a young, white girl before they leave. Which is the real sad thing, because then we have another issue that we have to deal with down the road.”
As said in a report from The Atlantic, LePage is no stranger to offensive, racist comments. In 2013, he told a group of Republican lawmakers that President Obama “hates white people,” which they found sufficiently offensive, even though they are in LePage’s party. He also refused to attend Martin Luther King Day celebrations, calling the NAACP a special interest.
[Image via Twitter]