Maine governor again compares IRS to Gestapo

The actual Gestapo leadership in Germany in 1939. From left to right are Franz Josef Huber, Arthur Nebe, Heinrich Himmler, Reinhard Heydrich and Heinrich Müller. The actual Gestapo leadership in Germany in 1939. From left to right are Franz Josef Huber, Arthur Nebe, Heinrich Himmler, Reinhard Heydrich and Heinrich Müller. Wikipedia Commons/Swedish Red Cross

Maine Gov. Paul LePage apparently cannot help comparing parts of the U.S. government to Nazis, to the point where even when he backtracked on his original comment Thursday, he wound up doubling down.

Ever since the Republican governor called the IRS "the new Gestapo" during his weekly radio address on Saturday (because it's going to make us buy health insurance under Obamacare, which is apparently a Gestapo thing?), he seems to have realized it was a bad idea. But damned if he can't stop reiterating his own point whenever reporters get him going.

On Tuesday, the Boston Herald reported that the governor had called Emily Chaleff, director of the Jewish Community Alliance of Southern Maine, to apologize. The governor issued a statement that said "Clearly, what has happened is that the use of the word Gestapo has clouded my message," the Herald's Steve Mistler reported. But "at the same time, LePage told WMTW-TV in an interview Monday: 'It was never intended to offend anyone and if someone’s offended, then they ought to be goddamned mad at the federal government.'"

Then on Thursday came an even bigger non-walk back. The governor's comment still fresh on people's minds, he chatted with Paul Heintz, a reporter from Seven Days, a Vermont alt-weekly, at a fundraiser in Burlington. He started out by apologizing to the Anti-Defamation League but then, when pressed... went right back to comparing the IRS to the Gestapo.

Read the full story at the Atlantic Wire

National Treasury Employees Union President Colleen Kelley weighed in on LePage's Thursday comments, saying, "It is extremely disappointing and distressing to witness not only the continuing refusal of Maine Gov. Paul LePage to apologize for his gratuitous insult directed at Internal Revenue Service employees, but to see him continue his attacks at a fundraising event today. I would hope the governor would take the time to reflect on the importance and dignity of the office he holds, the responsibility it imparts to him as the individual holding that office, and the harmful impact his words have on hard-working federal employees in Maine and across the nation whose primary goal is to serve the public."

 

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