LePage snuffs Trump VP talk, says he won’t go to convention


You’re asking yourself, “crispy? What?” The possibilities:

  1. Chris is going to KFC later.
  2. The lawn needs water.
  3. Donuts. Krispy and kremey.

Wrong, wrong and wrong. Despite layers of SPF 50, I find myself with an Independence Day weekend sunburn and a few cobwebs upstairs. There’s chlorinated pool water where there used to (allegedly) be brain juice. All of this is just a proactive disclaimer before we get started. With those handicaps announced, we’ll (I’ll) need some tunes to pull us (me) through. Here’s some blues by Ry Cooder, whom I can’t get enough of lately.

The sun dawned this morning on what we all know will be a slowed-down midsummer pace in Maine. Gov. Paul LePage took a low-key tone this morning during his weekly radio appearance on WVOM. LePage has shut out media interviews — except for the WVOM hosts and Ray Richardson, he said this morning — so his radio interviews and town hall meetings represent the only opportunities to hear him speak in public.

Here’s a summary of what he said this morning.

  • LePage won’t attend the Republican National Convention later this month in Cleveland. There has been speculation that given LePage’s support of Trump and Trump’s reported difficulty finding marquee Republicans to speak for him on stage, that LePage might be tapped. “If I felt that he needed me there I’d have gone, but I think it’s pretty much established,” said LePage. “If he calls me I’ll be there. It’s that simple.”
  • LePage won’t be Trump’s vice president. LePage said the Trump campaign has not discussed a vice presidency with him. “He needs someone from a big state, like Texas, Florida, Ohio or Pennsylvania. He doesn’t need someone from Maine.” LePage quipped that he’s holding out to be the ambassador to Canada in the summer and the ambassador to Jamaica in winter. Ya mon.
  • Any polls showing Hillary Clinton in the lead can’t be trusted because “the polls are made by people in the press.” This is another salvo in LePage’s war on the media. “I’m not so sure she’s as high as you think she is,” he said of Clinton.
  • Trump needs to talk about the national debt to win. “If he goes out and talks to the people, the people will react,” said LePage. LePage also suggested Trump read “Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns Goodwin.” 
  • LePage said again that he is interested in running for the U.S. Senate to unseat Angus King. “I’m very seriously considering it,” said the governor, who then unveiled a very snappy campaign slogan: “You’ve heard ‘where’s the beef?’ The beef’s not in Angus. It’s in LePage.”

That should jump-start you back into politics. If you want more, check out this project we were working on last week. We recorded LePage’s town hall meeting on June 22 in Richmond and created an annotated fact-check of the transcript. Here are some more tunes while you read. — Christopher Cousins

Quick hits

  • A new analysis by Roll Call ranks spending on staff by members of the U.S. House of Representatives from the beginning of 2015 through the end of March 2016. The range went from more than $1.3 million at the high end to $665,000 at the bottom. Democratic Rep. Chellie Pingree of Maine’s 1st Congressional District ranked 28th highest at $1,284,198, or $2,841 per day. Republican Rep. Bruce Poliquin of the 2nd Congressional District spent about $930,000, ranking him 414th out of 433 — about $2,000 a day.
  • The LePage administration says it will issue a request for proposals this week around creating a new detox facility for opioid addicts, according to Senate Minority Leader Justin Alfond of Portland. The facility was authorized and funded this year in a bill that also provided funding for new drug enforcement agents. Alfond publicly pushed for LePage to start the project last week, when the June 30 deadline for an RFP in the bill came and went. “‘Better late than never’ might be good enough for the governor, but I’d like to see him justify that to a family who has lost a loved one to addiction,” said Alfond in a written statement. The new facility is likely to be in the Bangor area.
  • The Maine Republican Party is raffling off what it calls a “one-of-a-kind piece of history”: The sign that was affixed to the podium during Donald Trump’s visit to Bangor last week — which now features Trump’s signature. Raffle tickets are $2 apiece.
  • We all know how the primaries turned out last month, right? Sort of, though up until the secretary of state’s office posted the certified results on Friday, the results were, well, uncertified.

Reading list

What Paul LePage has in common with Tom Brady and Mike Ditka

None of them will speak for Donald Trump at the Republican National Convention.

In its report, NBC Sports says Brady is “practically Teflon when it comes to anything the least bit controversial.”

Really, NBC? I think your brains need inflation. — Christopher Cousins

Christopher Cousins

About Christopher Cousins

Christopher Cousins has worked as a journalist in Maine for more than 15 years and covered state government for numerous media organizations before joining the Bangor Daily News in 2009.