President Barack Obama “hates white people,” according to Gov. Paul LePage.

The comment, heard by two state lawmakers, was given at a private function on Aug. 12.

According to a Portland Press Herald report, the lawmakers, who did not want to disclose their identities out of fear of political retribution, heard the remarks at a fundraiser with LePage and his wife, Ann, at the home of John and Linda Fortier of Belgrade.

Also in attendance was new state Republican Party Chairman Rick Bennett. According to the Press Herald, Bennett failed to return phone calls regarding the incident.

The lawmakers present said LePage was talking about how Obama could have been the best president ever if he had only embraced his biracial heritage — something he hasn’t done because he hates white people.

The Press Herald quotes one lawmaker as saying, “Yeah, he said it — it was one little thing from a speech, but I think most people there thought it was totally inappropriate.”

State Reps. Alex Willette of Mapleton and Larry Dunphy of Embden told the Press Herald that they didn’t hear the comments. Willette said he was busy with fundraising, and Dunphy passed it off as small talk he didn’t hear.

The governor’s director of communications, Peter Steele, refused to comment because the governor was not on official business. Steele passed all questions to the governor’s senior political advisor, Brent Littlefield, who also would not comment.

According to the Press Herald, one of the lawmakers who confirmed the comments said he supports the governor’s policies but is tired of being asked to defend controversial statements.

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