The Trump campaign is already having trouble casting itself as the best choice for minorities, including African-Americans, Latinos, and LGBT people. And Thursday one of Donald Trump’s biggest allies — Gov. Paul LePage of Maine — showed (once again) that he’s homophobic in a obscenity-laden voice mail in which he insists he’s not racist.
LePage left the voicemail for a Democratic Maine lawmaker Drew Gattine and repeatedly called him a “cocksucker.”
“Mr. Gattine, this is Gov. Paul Richard LePage. I would to talk to you about your comments about my being a racist, you cocksucker,” he says in audio released by the Portland Press Herald. “I want to talk to you. You want — I want you to prove that I’m a racist. I’ve spent my life helping black people and you little son of a bitch, socialist cocksucker. You — I need you to just frigging— I want you to record this and make it public because I am after you. Thank you.”
Gatinne, who has a wife and two children, has told media he hadn’t actually called LePage a racist. But LePage has a questionable record that is fairly well known. Out MSNBC anchor Rachel Maddow has aired repeated segments on the governor attempting to explain his suggestion that black men were coming to Maine, selling drugs, and impregnating white women.
By no means is this LePage's first venture into homophobia. To get reelected, he beat former Congressman Mike Michaud, who had to come out when, he said, a whisper campaign was mounting against him about him being gay. LePage has also fought guidelines that would provide equal rights for transgender students in his state. LePage made headlines once before for attacking a Democrat in his state with homophobia, saying, "He's the first one to give it to the people without providing Vaseline."
The Democratic Party seized on LePage’s latest comments as an example of bigotry from yet another Trump supporter. Trump has visited the state several times for rallies and to receive the governor's early endorsement in the primary.
“Yesterday, Hillary Clinton made a poignant call for Americans of all political stripes to denounce hatred and for Donald Trump to distance his campaign from hate groups. The same day, a Republican governor was shouting antigay slurs into a political opponent’s voice mail,” said T.J. Helmstetter, spokesman for the Democratic National Committee.
Clinton gave a much-touted speech Thursday in which she called out her opponent for supporting hate speech. Trump has in return called Clinton a “bigot.”
“The Republican Party has a lot of housecleaning to do if it wants to expand its appeal beyond those who find such bigotry acceptable,” said Helmstetter. “The Trump campaign should start by condemning LePage’s hateful rant.”