This morning Governor Paul LePage was interviewed on a Bangor-based radio station WVOM. During that interview, he made insulting remarks about Congressman John Lewis and was critical of Congresswoman Chellie Pingree’s decision not to attend the inauguration of Donald Trump in Washington, D.C. on Friday, January 20, 2017. Following is a response to his remarks issued by Pingree’s office this afternoon:
“Governor LePage is free to criticize me just as he has many others in our state. But like Donald Trump, he does our country a complete disservice with his inaccurate comments about Congressman John Lewis.
Like Dr. King, Congressman John Lewis is a civil rights hero. Denigrating the contributions he has made toward equality in our nation further divides us. We should not, and I will not take for granted all of those who spoke up for social justice and equality when it was unpopular. That fight is never ending and one I will always champion.
As for my decision not to attend the inauguration, I do not feel that it is the right time for pomp and circumstance. That is why I will be in Maine this Friday instead of engaging in the ceremony. The stakes are too high for my constituents. As their voice, I am standing up for the thousands of people who’ve contacted my office over the last few weeks because they are outraged, concerned and saddened by Mr. Trump’s comments and actions. And thousands must face the threat of loosing their health care coverage with absolutely no plan for how they will stay connected to care.
I have no intention of letting up in the fight for their needs and those of our communities at this crucial time.”
Lewis is a civil rights hero dating back to the 1960s. He worked closely with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and was one of the original Freedom Riders, He sustained a skull fracture during a march in Selma, Alabama in 1965 and was arrested numerous times.
(editor’s note: so offensive were Governor Paul LePage’s radio remarks this morning, they were rebroadcast this evening on cable news by Chris Matthews on Hardball. It was not his first mention on national cable news as he has earned a reputation for crude remarks in the past.)