Maine’s sole Democratic representative on Capitol Hill said Monday she won’t attend Donald Trump’s inauguration Friday, joining a boycott that has the support of at least a few dozen of her House colleagues.

It didn’t take long for her decision to spur controversy.

In a radio interview on Bangor’s WVOM on Tuesday morning, Gov. Paul LePage, who is planning to attend, advised U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree to resign from Congress if she can’t bring herself to go.

“The left has become so hateful,” LePage said, telling Democrats, “We had to endure your country for eight years. We survived.”

Pingree told an NAACP gathering in Portland that “under normal circumstances, I would have no question at all about participating in this important ceremony, whatever party the incoming president was from.”

She said, though, “these are not normal circumstances.”


“President-elect Trump’s actions go beyond any kind of reasonable debate — they threaten the constitutional values our country is based on,” Pingree said.

She said he made “disparaging comments about everyone from women to minorities to the disabled” during the campaign, “but what he’s done since the election goes to another level.”

“He’s shown no interest in holding a foreign power accountable for interference in our democracy; he’s put his business interests ahead of the country’s; he’s tweeted threats about people’s civil liberties; and he belittled civil rights hero Rep. John Lewis,” she said.

Pingree said she won’t “dignify or normalize those threats by standing by at his ceremony.”

Instead, she said, she plans to perform “acts of service here in Maine” and head back to Washington for the women’s march on Saturday.

“To me, that’s political rhetoric,” LePage said.


He said Trump is blunt and “comes out and says it the way it is and that’s why he got elected.”

He said people are “sick of these silver-tongued” politicians such as Pingree and U.S. Sen. Angus King, an independent who is Maine’s junior senator.

LePage also said that Lewis, who called Trump an illegitimate president last week, should instead have thanked the Republicans for Abraham Lincoln’s freeing of the slaves and post-Civil War efforts at reconstruction in the South.

LePage said he’s going to Washington on Wednesday evening or Thursday. He couldn’t remember which. While there, he’ll attend a gathering at the New Zealand embassy to honor New England governmental leaders and watch Trump take the oath of office at noon Friday.

Maine’s other congressman, Republican Bruce Poliquin, and its two senators, King and Republican Susan Collins, are all expected to attend the inauguration.

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