AUGUSTA (AP) —Republican Gov. Paul LePage said Wednesday that he’ll apologize for calling a GOP senator the “most repugnant human being” once the governor himself gets an apology – or when “hell freezes over.”
LePage told The Associated Press on Wednesday that he has responded to a committee’s demand that he apologize to Sen. Tom Saviello. The governor ripped up lawmakers’ letter demanding the apology and sent the tiny pieces back to them.
“I will apologize to him if he apologizes to me, or hell freezes over, whichever comes first,” LePage said.
Saviello said that if he’s hurt the governor in any way, he apologizes.
Saviello pushed for an investigation that hasn’t found evidence that LePage played a role in a decision to divert shipments of timber from public lands.
LePage called Saviello “the most repugnant human being” he’s ever seen at an Aug. 20 meeting of the Legislature’s Government Oversight Committee, which was asking the governor questions about the report.
The governor also accused Saviello of “fabricating things for eight years.” The committee’s co-chair Republican Sen. Roger Katz ruled the governor out of order, and LePage then stormed out of the meeting.
The committee’s co-chairs then wrote to LePage asking him to apologize.
“Gov. LePage, we do not know what fuels your anger, but your behavior before a standing committee of the Maine Legislature on August 20 was unacceptable and we condemn it,” said Katz and Democratic Rep. Anne-Marie Mastraccio in the Aug. 29 letter.
LePage ripped up that letter and sent it back to the committee’s co-chairs.
In an accompanying Aug. 30 letter, LePage told co-chairs that Saviello fabricates false accusations against him. He said he’ll apologize if Saviello apologizes, or when “hell freezes over – whichever comes first.”
“What ‘fuels my anger is the fabrication of falsehoods for political gamesmanship,” the governor said in a letter in which he accused both Saviello and Katz of such conduct.
Katz said the committee’s investigation isn’t over yet.
“I remain disappointed in the continued dumbing down of political discourse we are seeing,” Katz said. “All I can do is shake my head.”