Paul LePage Apologizes For Telling High School Student He'd Like To Shoot His Father

The student said he took no offense.
Maine Gov. Paul LePage speaks during a news conference in Brunswick.
Maine Gov. Paul LePage speaks during a news conference in Brunswick.

Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R) has apologized to a high school student for joking that he'd like to shoot his father, a prominent cartoonist in the state.

LePage made the widely criticized comment in late June, during his remarks at the annual gathering of Dirigo Boys State, a youth leadership program. At one point, Nick Danby, 17, stood up and asked the governor a question. When the governor realized the student's father is George Danby, the political cartoonist for the Bangor Daily News, LePage said what he'd like to do to him.

LePage has now apologized to the younger Danby in a handwritten note, the Bangor Daily News reported Monday. In reply, Nick said there were no hard feelings whatsoever.

"Thank you for the warm and thoughtful note -- I appreciate your concern and frankness," Nick wrote in a letter back to LePage. "I wanted to respond by telling you that I was not offended -- I thought they were quite humorous — nor was I the one who reported the incident -- I think in many respects you were simply representing the feelings of many Mainers."

He said he also didn't appreciate being portrayed in the media as a "heartbroken child" at the event.

George Danby told The Huffington Post in June that he did not find the governor's remarks funny at all, especially in light of the shooting of five Charlie Hebdo cartoonists in France earlier this year.

"The governor shouldn't be making those comments, even though I know he doesn't care for my stuff because I pick on him quite a bit in my cartoon," George said. "But it's always within the boundaries of fairness and free speech and satire."

The Association of American Editorial Cartoonists also condemned the governor's comments, saying they were "nothing short of absolutely reprehensible" and "beneath contempt."

LePage does not like Maine's newspapers, as he has made clear on several occasions. In August 2014, he said the "worst part" of his life was that "newspapers are still alive." In February 2013, he said newspapers were his "greatest fear." He has also said he wants to "blow... up" the headquarters of the Portland Press Herald.

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