May 28, 2013 was one of those days when something Gov. LePage said hit national news, going viral.
It was also a day that, as few people knew, his office received a memo from an extremist group mentioning violent options should they not get satisfaction.
The memo included talking points for their teleconference with the governor, at which the wheels were set in motion for the governor to have Kennebec County Sheriff Randall Liberty join them a few months later.
What did the governor say that day?
As this paper reported, LePage talked about Medicaid expansion.
“Expanding Medicaid? That’s not being run locally, that’s being run from Washington,” said LePage to reporters Wednesday at the State House, according to a report of the exchange by WCSH. “Are you that naive that you don’t realize who is pulling the strings? This is being run by our congressional delegation. … If I thought it was local, it would be no problem.”
Those comments are puzzling, as there’s nothing covert about Medicaid having been created by federal law, as was Medicaid expansion. It also implies that Maine hospitals, doctors, nonprofits and citizen and legislative supporters were all secretly manipulated into arguing for increasing coverage.
Those were not the comments that went viral that May day.
May 28, 2013 was five days after the governor threatened to move out of the State House.
Gov. LePage, perturbed at not being able to address an Appropriations Committee working session after he walked in as it was about to adjourn and about not being able to place a television displaying messages in the hall outside of his office, said:
The minute we start stifling our speech, we might as well go home, roll up our sleeves and get our guns out. [source]
Compare that comment to what the memo received by his office said:
Over years of being ignored and a long train of abuses the people’s options are diminishing and we will be left with the 1776 or the 1865 option. . .
What possible alternative do the People now have, other than to take up arms (before they are confiscated), as did the Founders against the world’s most powerful nation at the time???
Both the governor’s remarks and the memos express the idea that violence is a potential option should certain circumstances exist.
What’s going on here?
While Gov. LePage has had a long relationship with this extremist group (here, for instance, is an interview he did with them on December 8, 2009, eleven months before the election), there’s nothing to suggest that he agrees with all their absurd constitutional views. And there is no evidence of any plot to commit violence.
Still, his remarks reveal a certain overlap in perspectives, or at least in rhetoric, as do the comments the governor made just a year ago on how implementing the Affordable Care Act resembling the Gestapo.
By the way, after the May 28 memo was received, LePage held the teleconference the next day, as well as three face-to-face meetings, in July, August and September 2013.
In October, he was to mirror the extremist group’s ideology when he said at a boat launch, “The sheriff is the chief law enforcement officer in the state of Maine and I will authorize him to keep this place open.”
LePage stopped meeting with this group after his legal team met with him and group members in September.
The group’s conspiratorial worldview can be seen in their explanations for the meetings’ ending, as given in a recent interview, in which one group member both blamed the lawyers, saying of LePage, “The man is controlled,” and raised questions about whether the governor feared violence.
Merletti said: “Let’s go dark, OK? Is it possible that he was threatened? Is it possible that his wife was threatened? Is it possible his daughter was threatened? In this day and age, can we trust anything? What we do know is that we broke through the gatekeepers and they weren’t happy.”
Thank you to a commenter on this post on the violent rhetoric in the memo for noting the overlap in dates between it and the governor’s “get our guns out” remark. The memo to Gov. LePage was received by a FOAA act by Mike Tipping.
Note: Pollways is now on Facebook.