LePage offers statement on "Gestapo" comment

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — With a well-earned reputation for blunt rhetoric, Maine Gov. Paul LePage stirred outrage again when he likened the Internal Revenue Service to the Gestapo, prompting calls for a public apology.

AP Photo/Pat Wellenbach

In this Friday, April 27, 2012 photo, Gov. Paul LePage takes a sip out of a coffee mug displaying a "no new taxes" message on the bottom during an interview with the Associated Press at his office at the State House in Augusta, Maine. Critics are putting pressure on LePage to apologize for referring to the Internal Revenue Service as "the new Gestapo" during his radio address Saturday, July 7, 2012. 

AP Photo/Pat Wellenbach

In this Friday, April 27, 2012 photo, Gov. Paul LePage talks about his sense of humor while holding a poster that reads "There is a bully in Augusta pushing around seniors, children and middle class families," during an interview with the Associated Press at his office at the State House in Augusta, Maine. Critics are putting pressure on LePage to apologize for referring to the Internal Revenue Service as "the new Gestapo" during his radio address Saturday, July 7, 2012. 

The governor made the remark in his weekend radio address as he assailed the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that upheld President Barack Obama's health care law, saying the decision "made America less free" and gave Americans no choice but to buy health insurance or "pay the new Gestapo — the IRS."

Democrat Ethan Strimling, a political commentator and former state senator, said the Gestapo remark represents language that's "racially charged and ethnically tinged."

"I'm hoping that he just didn't understand the significance of those words and that he'll take them back and apologize. There are lots of ways to have an honest debate about health care, which I think people want to have, without walking down this path," Strimling said.

The Anti-Defamation League's regional director called the governor's remark "hurtful and inappropriate."

"The governor should immediately apologize for his remarks and demonstrate an understanding of why they are offensive to all who value civil discourse. Comparisons to the Nazi police force have no place in modern politics or anywhere else," Derrek Shulman said in a statement.

The Gestapo was Adolf Hitler's secret police in Nazi Germany and it was ruthless in its pursuits, which included assisting the Nazi SS in rounding up Jews.

Monday afternoon LePage's office issued a brief statement explaining the remark.

“It was not my intent to insult anyone, especially the Jewish Community, or minimize the fact that millions of people were murdered," LePage said in the prepared statement. 

"Clearly, what has happened is that the use of the word Gestapo has clouded my message . . .  " LePage said. "We no longer are a free people. With every step that Obamacare moves forward, our individual freedoms are being stripped away by the Federal Government. This should anger all Americans.”

LePage previously made headlines by telling the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People to "kiss my butt," calling protesters "idiots" and referring to state government middle managers as "corrupt." He even said he'd tell Obama to "go to hell" because of federal regulations affecting commercial fishermen.

But this time, the governor's remarks weren't off the cuff, indicating that he put more thought into his words before saying them aloud. Many felt that he went too far.

Strimling was joined in a bipartisan rebuke by his fellow commentator, Republican Phil Harriman, with a joint statement in which they asked for an apology.

Robert Bernheim, executive director of the Holocaust & Human Rights Center of Maine, urged caution in applying Nazi terms to democratic institutions and political decisions in America.

"For the governor, in a prepared statement, to equate the work of the IRS to a criminal organization like the Gestapo in order to enhance his criticism of the recent Supreme Court decision to uphold so-called Obama Care reflects ignorance of history at best," Bernheim said in a statement.

What do you think of this story?

Login to post comments

In order to make comments, you must create a subscription.

In order to comment on SunJournal.com, you must hold a valid subscription allowing access to this website. You must use your real name and include the town in which you live in your SunJournal.com profile. To subscribe or link your existing subscription click here.

Login or create an account here.

Our policy prohibits comments that are:

  • Defamatory, abusive, obscene, racist, or otherwise hateful
  • Excessively foul and/or vulgar
  • Inappropriately sexual
  • Baseless personal attacks or otherwise threatening
  • Contain illegal material, or material that infringes on the rights of others
  • Commercial postings attempting to sell a product/item
If you violate this policy, your comment will be removed and your account may be banned from posting comments.

Advertisement

Comments

Richard Begin's picture

What apology?

Pirate that Parrott is As Smart As Paint As Long John Silver would Speak.

I share your Sentiments about Barak Obama being such a Detriment to the Working Taxpaying People of America' it also appears that Chellie Pingree is trying to Meddle in the Affairs of the Governor' Good Luck with that.

Also I have been assured by a friend that he has the Skinny on Mr Dosh From so called Hawaii

What the Pirte sees is Good and all Seeing

Richard Begin's picture

A Trap' By Jove Watson I do believe your on to something

Greetings Pirate

I thankyou for your timely advice and intend to follow it as well.I have always viewed this Person of Interest Steve Dosh with some Suspicion

Good tosee you are still keeping an Eye on Things.

Also deem carrier who reallycares wht you think. If you were half as bright as you think you are you would realize that the Likes of that Spoiled Brat "Justin Alfond" who has not done an honest days workin his Life and can thank his whole existence to the Fruits of labor that his Great Guy and GrandFather Dexter Shoe Mr Alfond created.

Also Missy Carrier I would Lump you in with the other Miscreant Ben Grant' who will try to Use any Group to better Serve the Interests of his Corrupted and Useless Party the Democratic Party of Maine and America.
I say this becasue by excliming Hollow outrage and trying to incite Jewish response failed.

Again who wants to be an apologist for the IRS? Justin Alfon, Ben Grant and Now Missy Dee Carrier

The IRS is far worse than the Gestapo as they are untouchable and like the Gestapo a day of reckoning did catch up with them In Nuerenberg that may never happen in America
Not with The democrats and Barack Obama fighting to keep them in Place

Go Lepage

Richard Begin's picture

A Trap' By Jove Watson I do believe your on to something

Greetings Pirate

I thankyou for your timely advice and intend to follow it as well.I have always viewed this Person of Interest Steve Dosh with some Suspicion

Good tosee you are still keeping an Eye on Things.

Also deem carrier who reallycares wht you think. If you were half as bright as you think you are you would realize that the Likes of that Spoiled Brat "Justin Alfond" who has not done an honest days workin his Life and can thank his whole existence to the Fruits of labor that his Great Guy and GrandFather Dexter Shoe Mr Alfond created.

Also Missy Carrier I would Lump you in with the other Miscreant Ben Grant' who will try to Use any Group to better Serve the Interests of his Corrupted and Useless Party the Democratic Party of Maine and America.
I say this becasue by excliming Hollow outrage and trying to incite Jewish response failed.

Again who wants to be an apologist for the IRS? Justin Alfon, Ben Grant and Now Missy Dee Carrier

The IRS is far worse than the Gestapo as they are untouchable and like the Gestapo a day of reckoning did catch up with them In Nuerenberg that may never happen in America
Not with The democrats and Barack Obama fighting to keep them in Place

Go Lepage

So do you actually have a

So do you actually have a point to make or are you just a troll that substitutes attacks on those you disagree with for actual debate? Your ignorance of history is breathtaking. IRS is "worse than the Gestapo"? Seriously?

Dee  Carrier's picture

I have said it before and

I have said it before and I'll say it again, "This Govenor is an embarassment to the GOOD people of the state of Maine", enough said.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

I have said it before and

I have said it before and I'll say it again, "This president is an embarrassment to the GOOD people of the United States of America", enough said.
"Not bad for a parrot", said he.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Where was the outcry from the

Where was the outcry from the Jewish community when the words 'hitler' and 'nazi' were being used by the left in reference to George W. Bush?
The Gestapo term used by Gov. LePage in this particular context (reference IRS) should in no way be offensive to Jews or anyone else, except to maybe the IRS.
Another example of political correctness gone wild.

There should have been

You're right, I don't remember an outcry when GWB was compared, and there should have been. But "Well they started it!" has never been an excuse, not when we were snot-nosed kids and not when you're a politician (who isn't much evolved from those snot nosed kids -- I went to school with Eric Cantor in Virgina, and he was as much a bully and jerk then as he is now).

It's not a matter of sensitivity, to me. It's apples and oranges. Yes, the IRS can arrest you and sieze everything if you evade taxes (though the ACA specifically prohibits them from doing so in the case of the mandate tax), but they don't conduct beatings or public executions or concentration camps that ultimately culminate in the gas chamber. Making such a comparison between the two agencies is just plain ignorant of history and shreds the credibility of any subsequent argument made in the same statement.

FRANK EARLEY's picture

I can't get enough of this.....

I love reading these posts as much as I do posting them. Lets face it for any subject there will be pros and cons. I particularly like the more passionate posts, the one's that, well for lack of a better term, are really getting p/o,ed. If someone is using a video camera, the madder they get the more the camera shakes. When someone is typing, the more upset they get, the more the words begin to resemble a foreign language. I sit here and can almost picture someone "pounding away" at the key board. I may have been guilty of it myself from time to time who knows. I still think its funny. I guess I'm just easily entertained, oh well. I have to go now, Best Buy just opened, and I need a new keyboard. For some reason my backspace buttgon doesn't work anymore......

ERNEST LABBE's picture

get over it

take a deep breath and remember the days when you could say what you wanted without having to be poolitically correct.

Richard Begin's picture

A P O Logy

Steve Dosh i'll post aPicture tomorrow

Why do you insist that I do post one?

Richard Begin's picture

A P O Logy

Steve Dosh i'll post aPicture tomorrow

Why do you insist that I do post one?

Richard Begin's picture

A P O Logy

Steve Dosh i'll post aPicture tomorrow

Why do you insist that I do post one?

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

"It could be a trap, Richard;

"It could be a trap, Richard; be careful!!" screeched the suspicious parrot.

Richard Begin's picture

Why apologize and to Who?

I see absolutely no reason to apaologize and to reporters Like kathy Williamson I say stick to reporting your Recycled News stories from the Capital news Service Kathy, We do not need your remarks.That said we will expect more of the Same from People of Your 'Ilk' As Richard Nixon once remarked the Media is the Unelected Elite.

I stand behind the Governor on this One. Let's face the fact That the America I grew up in is no longer that America. It is the Nere de wells like Ms williamson that are clogging our System. Go lepage

Also the Reference to that hated and feared Police Thugs that ruled Germany during the Second World War their Names have been mentioned time after time in thios State and other States. I'ts almost like a He who must not be Named.

However what I would like answered is this.How all those who have spoken out against Governor Lepage and his Budget Cuts what would you have done differently?

The Defict facing Maine is forever looming, the Industrial Tax base is dwindling and it seems like the Fools and their are many, are more concerned about a remark made by our Governor then they should be about fixing the Economy .

For the Last Forty two years Maine has been held Hostage by the Democratic Majority. We have just recently begun to learn frist hand about the excessive over lapping programs that have been passed to strangle any growth in our State

.For those so willing to Pick up a pen or type an insulting Remark Like Buffoon as If. What Solutions would you offer to make things better in Maine. Would you be prepared to limit general assistance here in Maine?

Yes I'm Ok with the Governor and I have no interest in Scolding him or Pandering to the Likes of that Spoled Brat Justin Alfond or that incessent Complainer Ben Grant.My Governor has way to much on his mind ro worry about the Rodd St'Pieere's or mary Hilton's of the World have to say. yes we all have freedom of Speech and Expression and I am excercising my Rights as A American and Mainer to say whjat is on my Mind.

RBegin

KATHY WILLIAMSON's picture

Why should he apologize when

Why should he apologize when he's not sorry? He's not sorry he stole as a youth. He's not sorry for lying about being a Florida resident so his kids could get in-state tuition. He's not sorry that taxpayers pay room and board for his daughter, who lives rent-free in the Blaine House despite the fact that she has a State government job that he gave her, fresh out of college with nothing on her C.V. Quite a sorry state of affairs, for someone who's not sorry.

Steve  Dosh's picture

LePage offers statement on "Gestapo" comment

Kathy ,
Stick by your guns ?
Richard ?
Post a picture . It's relatively E Z to do • 
Next thing you know your Hon Gov. will make the pronouncement , " I am not a crook."
/s Steve ?

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

How come you never ask for a

How come you never ask for a picture of the parrot? He wants to know.

Apologize? Him? Never!

He doesn't do apologies. He doesn't understand why everyone is so upset, either.

Of course he meant every single word he said-it was written down so he wouldn't forget what to say.

That's deliberate in my book. To use one of the most highly-charged words one can ever use in public to demonstrate at point, and then say "I didn't mean it like that" is to show he's not only stupid but callous as well.

Rodd St.Pierre's picture

LePage...

... still a buffoon.

Steve  Dosh's picture

. . Ayuh ? . ... and a dolt

. . Ayuh ? . ... and a dolt • 

So....

He's not apologizing, then...? Because that wasn't an apology, just a complaint that his use of Gestapho distracted from him point. Frankly, it WAS his point.

Do we expect less from a man who laughs about stealing candy from smaller kids when he was a street urchin?

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Maybe him was hungry?

Maybe him was hungry?

LOL..

He looks like he stole more than candy, and he continues to steal from the people of Maine and Florida... He hasn't missed many meals from what I can see of him on the news. He only apologized because some PR guy told him to I'm sure. This guy does no wrong in his eyes. He is a sorry excuse for a governor, but I can see by the comments, many in this area like the slob...

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

We're not all fans of his,

We're not all fans of his, but anyone who can put up with oBAMa in the white house ought to be able to handle LePage in the Blaine House. There's nothing wrong with Paul LePage that a Dale Carnegie course couldn't fix.
As far as his gestapo comment goes, in the context it was used, anyone who is offended by it (other than the IRS) needs to grow another layer of hide; their skin is too thin.

I am not offended by the

I am not offended by the alleged racial insensitivity of the remark. I actually believe that the did not mean it as a racial remark (though I knew the JADL and Holocaust survivor groups would pounce on it). What offends me is the ignorance behind the comment. It is an indication that he can't think of a GOOD reason to be against the Supreme Court decision, so he resorts to outrageous comparison. It is a fact that the best way to kill your credibility is to compare something you're against to Hitler, the Gestapo, or Nazis. These are such horrifying and brutal images that to compare them to anything other than other war crimes is hyperbole and a joke.

What also offends is that, in previous cases of LePage's open-mouth-insert-foot is that those previous statements were off the cuff, responses to reporter questions. It could be said that he was just not thinking before he spoke (hence the scramble to backtrack). This time he was reading from a prepared speech. (If I were cynical I'd say he was using the text prepared by the Maine Heritage Policy Center. No, I AM that cynical. They seem to be pulling all his strings and those of the Legislature.) He did think about this, and he still used the image.

It reminds me of George Allen: when he called that Indian kid following him with a video camera "Macacca", a racial slur that compares lower caste Indians to monkeys, I do believe he didn't know it was a slur. But it was, and he never backed down or apologized for it. At least LePage tried and made calls to the JADL to apologize. But saying it "distracted from his message" seems to imply that his regret is not the insenstitivity but that it clouded what he meant. That's not really an apology. It's an "I'm sorry that you chose to ignore my point because I used a word you don't like."

KATHY WILLIAMSON's picture

Ignorance is no excuse. Don't

Ignorance is no excuse. Don't invoke anything historical unless you know what it is. He had no business mentioning the Gestapo since he did not understand what they did, and how he was diminishing the suffering of the people who were tortured and died at their hands.

Advertisement

Stay informed — Get the news delivered for free in your inbox.

I'm interested in ...