Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R) on Thursday fiercely criticized the media, claiming society would be “better” without a key part of it and indicating he’s invented stories with the goal of misleading reporters.
During his weekly appearance on WGAN-AM, a radio station in Portland, Maine, LePage pushed back on reports he had planned to leave the state for vacation amid a three-day government shutdown that ended Tuesday when he signed a new budget.
“This is when you know it’s not about the press, it’s not about reporting, it’s about poking a certain person in the eye for six-and-a-half years,” he said, referring to his time in office. “I’ll tell you, they’re so bad. You know what we found that works? We go to Facebook Live, and we ignore them, and they get even angrier.”
While the stories about LePage planning a mid-shutdown vacation cited GOP state senators, he claimed the reports stemmed from his comment that his pen ― his power as governor to sign bills into law ― would be vacationing during the shutdown.
“The press just ran [with that comment], and they’re so, so vile and inaccurate,” he said. “I just love to sit in my office and make up ways just so they’ll write these stupid stories. I mean, they are just so stupid, it’s awful.”
He continued, “I’ll tell you, the sooner the print press goes away, the better society will be. ... They’re useless.”
A spokeswoman for LePage, who first won his office in 2010 and won re-election in 2014, did not immediately return a request for comment.
You can listen to audio of the interview below:
LePage has long seen the press as a foe, just last year vowing to never speak to reporters again.
“I’m serious,” he said in August. “Everything will be put into writing. I’m tired of being caught in the ‘gotcha’ moments.”
His latest comments come as President Donald Trump ― whom LePage supports ― has continued his own war against the media. In the last week, he’s attacked the hosts of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” and tweeted a 2007 clip of himself beating up WWE owner Vince McMahon that had been edited to to replace McMahon’s head with the CNN logo.