(UPDATE) LePage Admits to Threatening Good Will-Hinckley Re: Eves Hiring, Denies Actions Were “Blackmail”
6/30/15 UPDATES: Rallies were held at the State House today, both in support of the governor and his budget veto (within the Hall of Flags; 75 participants including Governor LePage) and another opposing LePage, demanding a full investigation into the allegations against him (about 300 participants, outside the State House and under LePage’s office windows)
SUPPORTERS (photos available here):
OPPONENTS (photos available here):
Maine Governor Paul LePage was interviewed outside his office at the State House briefly today; audio was recorded by WMTW’s Paul Merrill via his cell phone and shared with this reporter. Also interviewing the governor was MPBN’s Mal Leary.
- PAUL MERRILL: Wondering about your reaction to the talk of impeachment…
GOV. LEPAGE: It is what it is; it’s a free country. They can do whatever they want. If they impeach me, I won’t have to retire.
PAUL MERRILL: Regarding Speaker Eves… was there any explicit threat about his employment?
GOV. LEPAGE: First of all- I don’t understand about a “threat”. Here is a person who for five years has been going against charter schools. HE voted against them; he spoke harshly against them. And NOW he’s concerned? I dunno what he’s talking about. I’m a pro charter school advocate; he’s an opponent. Would I stand up against him? And incidentally, about monies you are talking about? The money you’re talking about is out of the budget. Unbeknownst to me at the time, the legislature took that money out of the budget. So…
PAUL MERRILL: So you never threatened to withhold money.
GOV. LEPAGE: Yeah, I did! If I could, I would! Absolutely; why wouldn’t I? Tell me why I wouldn’t take the taxpayer money, to prevent somebody to go into a school and destroy it. Because his heart’s not into doing the right thing for Maine people.
PAUL MERRILL: But they would say that- if you said, “If you hire him, then I don’t get the money”, that’s blackmail.
GOV. LEPAGE: No, it’s not. Go, go read the definition. Please go read the definition of “blackmail”. I don’t gain anything out of it and neither does he. So there’s nobody gaining anything. So I think you are misusing the word. And that’s coming from a Frenchman.
MAL LEARY: The ‘New York Times’ yesterday portrayed you as “a party of one”. How do you feel when you read that you’re “a party of one”?
GOV. LEPAGE: Let me tell you something. This is how- my only comment about that is I was elected by 1.3 million people, with the most votes in the history of Maine governors, to come to Maine and to get rid of the status quo and the corruption. And I will continue do that, with every ounce of blood until my last day. Whichever, whichever comes first- the impeachment or my- the term of office.
PAUL MERRILL: You expect to veto the budget this afternoon?
GOV. LEPAGE: Absolutely.
PAUL MERRILL: Do you know about what time? What’s time frame?
GOV. LEPAGE: It will before I leave at 5 o’clock. (giggles)
PAUL MERRILL: Any comments about the veto, the impending veto?
GOV. LEPAGE: Uh, it’s gonna be different. Than you’ve ever seen. (giggles)
PAUL MERRILL: How so?
GOV. LEPAGE: That’s all I’m gonna say. (giggles)