Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R) may skip his annual State of the State address to the legislature, saying he has no interest in speaking to a bunch of people who want to impeach him.
"Why am I going to go up and face people and talk to them in an audience that just a week or two before, they’re trying to impeach me? That's just silliness," LePage told Bangor radio station WVOM Tuesday. "I'll send them a letter and we'll call it a day."
LePage's office did not return a request for comment about whether he is definitely canceling this year's State of the State address.
A group of Maine lawmakers have drafted a motion to set up an investigation into whether LePage should be impeached, which the legislature could take up as early as Thursday. Their complaints center around whether the governor bullied an organization into revoking a job for the Democratic House speaker by threatening to withhold state funds for the group.
Governors traditionally use their high-profile State of the State speeches to tout successes and outline policy priorities for the new year, much like the president does in a State of the Union address. LePage usually delivers his State of the State speech in late January or early February.
Republican legislators told the Portland Press Herald they understand why LePage might want to break with tradition this year.
"Look, he's got the Democratic speaker of the House suing him in federal court, he’s got nine [lawmakers] in the House bringing impeachment against him," House GOP leader Kenneth Fredette said. "Not coming in and not addressing the Legislature in that atmosphere is certainly a reasonable action."
State House Speaker Mark Eves (D), who is the one suing LePage over his lost job, said the governor would be doing the people of Maine a disservice by skipping his speech.
"Hard working people of Maine show up to do their jobs, and the governor should do his," Eves said in a statement. "Maine people deserve to hear the governor's vision for the state and his proposed solutions."
LePage has also been dealing with intense criticism for his recent assertion that heroin dealers with names like "D-Money" like to come to Maine and "impregnate a young white girl before they leave."
At a press conference Friday, LePage insisted that his comments were not about race because he hadn't specified whether "D-Money" and the other hypothetical drug dealers were black or white.
"I never said anything about white or black on traffickers ... What are they, black? I don't know. I just read the names," LePage said. "I tried to explain that Maine is essentially all white. I should have said 'Maine women.'"
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