In case you missed it, a report yesterday from Maine Public shows that what Paul LePage is saying about asylum seekers in private is very different from what he is saying about them in public.
During a public debate at the Portland Chamber of Commerce earlier this month, LePage said, “Instead of sending them to Martha's Vineyard, I want to put them to work.”
However, according to Maine Public, when discussing asylum seekers during a campaign event last month, LePage said that “the only way” to deal with asylum seekers is “to do what Governor Ducey and Governor Abbott are doing.”
“You rent a bus line, like Cyr bus lines, and you ship ‘em. You ship them to Washington, DC,” LePage said at the campaign event.
LePage at one point tried to make the point that asylum seekers could be put to work in Maine, but it resulted in several audience members saying “we don’t need them, they don’t work” and that they are “bringing rape, murder, everything else.”
There is no evidence to suggest that people seeking asylum to flee persecution are committing crimes, but LePage responded by saying, “Look, you’re speaking to the choir”.
LePage has previously and wrongly said that asylum seekers are here illegally, and during his time in office, his hostility to immigrants and people of color repeatedly made headlines:
Portland Press Herald: LePage to NAACP: ‘Kiss my butt’
Bangor Daily News: LePage wrongly blames ‘illegals’ for diseases in Maine
Portland Press Herald: LePage breaks with Maine’s attorney general to support Trump’s immigration ban
“This revelation is just more proof that despite what LePage says in public, he hasn’t changed at all,” said Drew Gattine, Chair of the Maine Democratic Party. “Maine desperately needs people to move here and help us build our state and drive our economy. We hear from people across the state, including business owners, that people seeking asylum can be an important part of Maine’s future and the solution to some of our most pressing problems. While LePage agrees in public, in private he suggests following the lead of other extreme Republican governors by putting them on a bus.”