Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R) would apparently like for Republican nominee Donald Trump to rule with absolute power and squelch personal freedom.
At least that’s what he seemed to be saying in a radio interview Tuesday when he called for Trump to embrace authoritarianism.
“Sometimes I wondered that our Constitution is not only broken, but we need a Donald Trump to show some authoritarian power in our country and bring back the rule of law,” LePage said on a conservative radio station in Maine. “Because we’ve had eight years of a president, he’s an autocrat, he just does it on his own, he ignores Congress and every single day, we’re slipping into anarchy.”
LePage’s remarks are a little confusing, since it’s not clear how someone who wields “authoritarian power” would be different from an autocrat who ignores checks on his authority. The context of the conversation is no help, since LePage blurted out the authoritarian plea as he was criticizing attack ads by Democratic congressional candidate Emily Cain, who is challenging Rep. Bruce Poliquin (R-Maine).
That said, Trump has exhibited some fondness for authoritarian leadership, excusing Russian President Vladimir Putin for possibly killing journalists and giving North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un “credit” for wiping out political opposition. During Sunday night’s presidential debate, Trump said his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, would be “in jail” under a Trump administration.
Conservatives have complained that President Barack Obama has exceeded his constitutional authority with executive orders relating to immigration and his health care law.
LePage said in the interview that a Clinton presidency would destroy the U.S.
“I could not see how any red-blooded American citizen could vote for Hillary Clinton,” he said.
UPDATE 10/12/16: LePage said Wednesday that he had misspoken. “Yesterday, I was on the radio and I made a big error. Instead of using the word authoritative, I used the word authoritarian,” LePage said at a press conference.
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Editor’s note: Donald Trump regularly incites political violence and is a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist and birther who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims — 1.6 billion members of an entire religion — from entering the U.S.