Trump.45 is significantly challenged calorically, as mere visual inspection will confirm. and his trouble has only gotten worse in the four months he has been stressed as President. He entered office as the third heaviest President in our nation’s 241 year history, and vying for a clean shot at second place All-Time (Grover Cleveland at 260 pounds). He is not considered a serious candidate yet for the top spot that is ponderously occupied by William Howard Taft (320 pounds).
To start the New Year in 2017, we suggested here that the about-to-be President Trump could do a public health service for all Americans, and get his weight under control as a matter of personal discipline and health benefit, and simultaneously provide a highly cost effective infrastructure investment for our troubled country.
He has taken no notice of the win-win benefits from this action, still waiting in the wings.
Since a picture communicates sharply in the moment, an episodic return to the Trumpster’s sequential bariatric status seems like a reasonable idea. Note that this is not an officially sanctioned effort at transparency, since the White House is not in the habit of releasing precise and accurate details about the President’s health status, and furthermore Trump’s ballooning weight is nothing to brag about, in any case.
As a subject relevant introduction to this periodic feature, it turns out that the Fates have provided one of those unexpected natural experiments you could not ever plan for, but should always be ready to observe and profit from.
One of the more colorful serving governors in the U.S. is Paul LePage (age 68), twice elected in the Great State of Maine (2010, 2014). He shares some obvious political characteristics with Trump.45: both are controversial, often speak and act confrontationally, and mostly don’t give a damn if someone doesn’t approve of what they have to say, just telling it like it is (as they see it). Both have some history of inventing apocryphal but dramatic stories to illustrate their private perspectives, say about illegal drugs, immigrants, racial minorities, welfare cheats, etc.
As a sitting Republican governor, LePage was quick out of the box to endorse Chris Christie, his fellow Republican Governor of New Jersey., but turned to Trump.45 and became an enthusiastic supporter by last summer.
Chris Christie and Paul Lepage Two Heavyweights in Maine (January 2016)
That is neither here not there. What bonds these brothers of bulk is the issue of body mass for men at the end of their seventh decade of life, the health concerns involved, and the question of personal discipline and responsibility needed to control one’s own environmental circumstances.
Paul LePage Governor of Maine (January 2014)
Paul LePage has had a chronic weight problem during his term as governor. In fact this 2014 pre-intervention photo shows a wide body indeed. It sort of matches his personally aggressive political style and the hint of menace against those losers who don’t see things just his way.
In September 2016, however, LePage heeded his doctor’s solemn health warning about the serious risks of diabetes, etc., and decided to take charge by undergoing bariatric (weight loss) surgery.. By the end of the year, he had lost 50 pounds due to a successful surgery, and weighed about 200 pounds. The surgery did not increase his height of course, but it sure helped to lower his BMI, and thereby also reduce his future adverse health risks.
Paul LePage Post-Surgery (December 19, 2016)
LePage disclosed his surgery in the middle of January 2017, after the Trump.45 bariatric challenge post had been written.
In fact a pre-surgery comparison of Trump.45 and LePage in the summer of 2016 would show an obese Trump.45 and a massive LePage.
Paul Lepage Pre-Surgery (August 26, 2016)
Since January 2017, Trump has suffered the full weight of care and woe related to normal operations in the White House, not to mention the deeply disturbing and uncontrollable tension of the various Russian Investigations, that just won’t quit, no matter what he Twits or whom he fires (Yates, Comey) to make it go away.
Meanwhile LePage is enjoying a relatively svelte revival of the former lesser personal self of his youth.
Paul LePage at College circa 1969 [front row center]
So, the natural experiment referred to is the relative role reversal in bariatric status of LePage versus Trump.45 in the nine months since last Fall. Wide to not bad, obese to obeser.
The Fates have also arranged for a more direct physical comparison in the saga of the April 26 signing of an Executive Order by Trump directing a review by the Department of the Interior of the spate of recent National Monument designations, another Obama era regulation opposed by most Republicans, including Trump & LePage, birds of a feather, against such designations. Trump.45 and LePage partially shared the stage, with LePage stationed off to the left side behind Trump.45 at the podium.
As Trump.45 made some brief remarks after the signing ceremony with the bold felt-tip that is his wont, and LePage looked on, Trump detoured from the actual purpose of the event, and delivered one of his patented, left-handed insult compliments, by saying that he knew LePage both heavy and thin, and liked him both ways.
LePage was on the stage, outranked and on camera, so a personal insult disguised as a flimsy insincere “compliment” joke tease was tolerated and swallowed without a public temper flare, and Trump.45 swanned along as he does, secure in his oh so easy, cheap bully boy theatrics.
Ignore for a moment the numerical flim-flammery of referring to LePage’s post surgery condition as thin (he is still overweight). This perhaps speaks more to Trump’s internal image mirror distortion, or a defect in his own appestat controller.
This is not the first time Trump.45 has jestingly derided a political confidant (see Christ Christie), though he usually reserves his un-self aware fat-shaming for women he doesn’t like or whatever.
From Politico (04.26.17):
President Donald Trump pointed out Maine Governor Paul LePage’s recent weight loss on Wednesday, as he signed an executive order to review of tens of millions of acres of land and water set aside as national monuments by the past three presidents.
“Governor LePage of Maine, who, by the way, has lost a lot of weight,” Trump said. “I knew him when he was heavy and now I know him when he was thin and I like him both ways, okay?”
LePage lost at least 50 pounds during the last few months of 2016 after he underwent bariatric surgery in September. He lost the weight after his doctor warned him he was at risk for diabetes if he didn’t.
This wasn’t Trump’s first time commenting on the weight of a northeastern governor. During the campaign, he told early endorser and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, “no more Oreos.”
“I’m not eating Oreos anymore, you know that — but neither is Chris,” Trump said. “You’re not eating Oreos anymore. No more Oreos. For either of us, Chris. Don’t feel bad.”
Trump goes up, LePage goes down. Trump is off base, and typically not funny. Look in the mirror, pal.
I say congratulations to LePage who had the good judgment to seek help, and take expert advice in order to protect his health. A responsible thing for any person to strive for, but especially a high-ranking public official who others count on for leadership.
A sound example Trump.45 seems resistant to absorbing and incapable of following. Can you say two scoops of ice-cream for dessert, while lording it over White House guests, along with the steak and fries, McDonalds feasts, and whatever else goes into the expanding universe of girth that is Trump.45’s bodily temple?
Here’s the First Bariatric Gallery Photo of the Trump.45 Ascendancy.
A Ballooning President Trump Meets Justin Trudeau at the White House (February 13, 2017)
What Lesson To Take Away
The entire country would be better served if Trump.45 would slow down, calm down, get a little more sleep, masticate more carefully, and consume a few thousand calories less per week.
Oh, and informally based on the visual evidence, I’s say it’s a fair bet Trump.45 has now zoomed into a very solid second place among Presidents for less than stellar BMI ratios (at a estimated Trumpian weight today north of 265 pounds).
As for the best estimate quantitative evaluation of their relative BMI numbers, see this simple calculator. Try it on yourself, but many of you should be prepared for less than thrilling news if you enter the numbers honestly.
In our January 1, 2017 post, Trump.45’s ‘official’ weight was given as 236 pounds by the redoubtable Dr. B; we estimated from visual evidence and personal experience a more likely truthful weight at that time was about 250 pounds. At Trump’s maximum youthful height (Selective Service Draft Board Physical, they don’t lie numbers) of 6 feet 2 inches, his BMI was either 30.3 (rated obese) or 32.1 (obese) in the Fall of 2016.
Donald Trump & Paul LePage Face to Face (March 3, 2016)
A good estimate for LePage’s current height, based on the side-by-side photograph of him next to and facing Trump.45 in March 2016, is that LePage is about 4 inches shorter than Trump.45, or about 5 feet 10 inches standing tall.
LePage’s weight at the time of his bariatric surgery in September has been reported as 250 pounds, as he has subsequently lost 50 pounds and now tips the scales at a reasonable 200 pounds.
Paul LePage Post-Surgery (April 2017)
Using these numbers in the BMI calculator, LePage went from a BMI of 35.9 (obese) at 250 pounds pre-surgery, to a current BMI of 28.7 (overweight) at 200 pounds after surgery.
By contrast Trump.45’s current weight surely exceeds 250 pounds, for a BMI of 32.1, and most likely staggers at 265 pounds or better, for a BMI of 34 today. In any case, either semi-quantitatively or based on visual evidence, Trump.45’s BMI is rising and heading in the completely wrong direction.
There is hope contained in the numbers. LePage was heavier relative to his height even than the expanding Trup.45 is today, and he dropped 7 BMI units in just a few months, a decline of nearly 20%, and a change in adverse risk category from obese to the lesser overweight designation.
If LePage could do it, and he is merely the governor of a small state, and not the oversize brain and commander than PresidentTrump.45 of the entire United States represent, surely the Big Dog could shape up, if he only wanted to. But he would have to go easy on the double ice-cream scoops at dinnertime.
It is possible that reducing the personal stress of the constellation of Russian Hacking and Related Matters Investigations that Trump.45 must endure, for months to come, might improve his motivation and lead to something of a decreased BMI and the attendant adverse health risks for him.
Sadly, that would not be in the best interests of America’s national political health, so Trump.45 will have to figure out some other means to get himself back in Nature’s good graces, healthwise.
Quite a conundrum, given Trump.45’s obdurate resistance to admitting there is a problem or altering course once he has decoded how the World Turns. As he likes to say to his minions, “Just Fix It”.
From the Wikipedia entry for Paul LePage (partial):
Paul Richard LePage (born October 9, 1948) is an American businessman and Republican Party politician who is currently the 74th Governor of Maine. Born in Lewiston, LePage grew up with seventeen siblings. After some initial difficulty entering college due to speaking French as his first language, he succeeded in obtaining a Bachelor of Science in business administration in finance and accounting from Husson College, later earning a Master of Business Administration from the University of Maine. LePage worked for a lumber company in New Brunswick, Canada, from 1972 to 1979 and then for Scott Paper in Winslow, Maine. He later founded the business consulting firm LePage & Kasevich Inc and in 1996, he became general manager of Marden’s Surplus and Salvage, a Maine-based discount store chain.
LePage’s political career began when he served two terms as a city councilor in Waterville, Maine, before being elected Mayor of Waterville in 2003, serving until 2011. During his eight year tenure as mayor LePage reorganized city hall, lowered taxes, and increased the city’s rainy day fund balance from $1 million to $10 million. In 2009, while still mayor, LePage announced that he would run for Governor of Maine in the 2010 election. LePage defeated six other Republicans to win the party’s nomination with 37.4% of the vote. He won the general election with another plurality, 37.6%, in a five-candidate race. He was re-elected with a stronger plurality, 48.2% of the vote, in a three-candidate election in 2014. During his tenure as the Governor of Maine, he has made extensive use of his veto power issuing 182 as of 2016, the record for any governor. He instituted the largest tax cut in the history of Maine, reformed the state’s pension system, financed welfare debts for the medical community, and reduced state regulations on corporations. As governor he has made controversial remarks regarding abortion, the LGBTQ community, racial minorities, the death penalty, voting rights, campaign financing, the government and the environment that has sparked wide-spread national criticism including calls for impeachment.
As of December 2016, LePage has an approval rating of 38%, down 6% from his inauguration.
Early life and education
LePage was born in Lewiston, Maine. The eldest son of eighteen children of Theresa (née Gagnon) and Gerard LePage, both of French Canadian descent, he grew up speaking French in an impoverished home with an abusive father who was a mill worker. His father drank heavily and terrorized the children, and his mother was too intimidated to stop him. At age eleven, after his father beat him and broke his nose, he ran away from home and lived on the streets of Lewiston, where he at times stayed in horse stables and at a “strip joint”. After spending roughly two years homeless, he began to earn a living shining shoes, washing dishes at a café, and hauling boxes for a truck driver. He later worked at a rubber company and a meat-packing plant and was a short order cook and bartender.
LePage applied to Husson College in Bangor, but he was rejected due to a poor verbal score on the SAT because English was his second language. He has said that State Representative Peter Snowe—the first husband of former U.S. senator Olympia Snowe—persuaded Husson to give LePage a written exam in French, which allowed LePage to show his reading comprehension skills and gain admission. At Husson, LePage improved his English-language skills and became editor of the college newspaper. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science in business administration in finance and accounting and later earned a Master of Business Administration from the University of Maine.
Governor of Maine
On September 22, 2009, LePage announced that he would be seeking the 2010 Republican nomination for governor of Maine. He won 38% of the vote in a seven-way primary election, despite being outspent ten-to-one by his closest challenger. John Morris, LePage’s campaign chief-of-staff, credited LePage’s win with a campaign strategy (devised by chief strategist Brent Littlefield) that he referred to as the “three onlys” theme before the June primary election. This theme focused on particular aspects of LePage’s biography that supposedly set him apart from the other candidates. These were, according to Morris, LePage “was the only candidate who had a compelling life story, …the only candidate who had a successful experience as a chief executive officer of a government entity, …the only candidate who was the executive of a prosperous Maine business.”
In the general election, LePage was backed by local Tea Party activists and faced Democratic state senator Libby Mitchell, and three independents – Eliot Cutler, Shawn Moody, and Kevin Scott. During the campaign, he told an audience that when he became governor, they could expect to see newspaper headlines stating, “LePage Tells Obama To Go to Hell”. He was subsequently criticized by Libby Mitchell’s campaign as being disrespectful towards the office of the president.
With 94% of precincts reporting on the day after the election, the Bangor Daily News declared LePage the winner, carrying 38.1% of the votes. independent Cutler was in second place with 36.7% of the votes (fewer than 7,500 votes behind LePage), while Democrat Mitchell was a distant third with 19%. Moody and Scott had 5% and 1%, respectively. LePage is the first popularly elected, Franco-American governor of Maine and the first Republican since John R. McKernan, Jr.’s re-election in 1990. In his victory speech, LePage promised he would shrink government, lower taxes, decrease business regulation, and put “Maine people ahead of politics.”
On May 7, 2013, LePage stated that it was likely that he would seek re-election in 2014. He had already filed paperwork to form a campaign committee in August 2011 to be able to hold fundraisers to raise campaign funds. On June 21, 2013, when asked if he was concerned about hurting his re-election campaign, he replied, “Who said I’m running?”, and, that “everything was on the table”—including entering the race for Maine’s Second Congressional District; retiring; or “going back to Marden’s to stock shelves”. He later backed-off the reference to entering a congressional run, but stated that he would have a family meeting to discuss the possibility of him not seeking re-election (citing the passage of a 2013–2014 budget by the legislature—in override of his veto of it—as the type of devastating mistake that Maine could not recover from. At a fundraiser with former Florida governor Jeb Bush on July 2, he told supporters that he was indeed running for re-election.
At 12:04 AM on November 5, the Bangor Daily News declared that Paul LePage had won re-election to a second term, defeating Democratic Congressman Mike Michaud and independent candidate Eliot Cutler. He got 48.2% of the vote.
LePage was the first Maine governor to use social media to promote the annual State of the State Address, when he used Twitter to send several tweets previewing his February 5, 2013 speech. LePage has vetoed 182 bills as governor, which broke the record of 118 set by Governor James B. Longley. Most of LePage’s vetoes have come since 2013, when Democrats regained control of the Legislature from the Republicans. Democrats overrode 20 of LePage’s vetoes. Five of them, including an override of the 2013–2014 state budget, came in the 2013 session of the Legislature, while 15 came in the 2014 session. In the 2015 session of the Legislature, LePage had 14 more vetoes overridden as of June 11. That number is expected to climb as LePage has promised to veto every bill sponsored by a Democrat, regardless of its merits, in retaliation for the rejection of his proposal for a constitutional amendment referendum to eliminate Maine’s income tax. If he does so, LePage would be on pace to break Gov. James B. Longley’s record of having 64 vetoes overridden in a single term. LePage later expanded his veto threat to all bills sponsored by all legislators in order to force needing a 2/3 vote on them for passage. He stated that he feels it is the only way he can “get the most representation that I can for the people of the state of Maine” and that Democrats had convinced Republicans to sponsor bills to get around his initial veto threat.
LePage initially endorsed Chris Christie for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, but after Christie dropped out LePage endorsed Donald Trump just hours after Christie in February 2016. Earlier in February, LePage had urged Republican governors to draft an open letter “to the people”, disavowing Mr. Trump and his politics.
LePage supports the idea of the State removing the children of welfare recipients from their homes if the recipients are found to be using illegal drugs and refuse to enter rehab. Current law only allows the removal of children due to neglect and abuse, which can result from drug use, but is not drug use itself.
He has expressed opposition to the legalization of marijuana, seeing it as a gateway to more powerful drugs like heroin, but has said that if legalization was approved by referendum, he would honor it.
LePage has called for additional Maine DEA agents, judges, and prosecutors to fight drugs. The Maine Legislature approved six additional agents, two prosecutors, and two judges in the 2015–16 state budget, but LePage criticized that as “chump change” and has asked for more. He has criticized legislative Democrats skeptical of his proposals, stating “If I didn’t know better, I was a real cynic, I’d think that the Democrats like drug dealers.” He has stated he would use the Maine National Guard for drug enforcement if necessary, and has actually done so. He further called for drug traffickers to be put in “super-max” facilities. He has also said “Everybody in Maine, we have constitutional carry, load up and get rid of the drug dealers,” which he clarified meant that an environment should be created that will keep drug dealers away from Maine, not that people should engage in vigilantism.
LePage has said that the permitting process to start a business in Maine is too cumbersome and expensive and he will look for ways to make it cheaper and easier. He opposes raising any taxes during his term as governor and supports the creation of a 5% flat tax on all households earning more than $30,000. During the gubernatorial campaign, he also wanted to reduce the auto registration tax by 20% and use the actual sale price rather than MSRP as the tax basis.
LePage has criticized Maine’s child labor laws, stating that the minimum work age of 16 without a work permit in Maine “is doing damage to the economy” and that “there is nothing wrong with being a paperboy at 12 years old, or at a store sorting bottles at 12 years old.” He has stated that he has no problem with children being prohibited from working 40 hours a week, but citing his own experiences working at that age, said that a 12-year-old working 8–10 hours a week or a 14-year-old working 12–15 hours a week should be permitted as it would instill a healthy work ethic in children. LePage has proposed allowing businesses to pay child workers a training wage of $5.25 an hour, loosening time-based requirements for children working during the school year, and streamlining the process for children to obtain a work permit by removing school superintendents from the process in the summer, all of which did not pass the Legislature.
LePage opposes the expansion of casino gambling in Maine, believing that any economic benefit to additional casinos would come at the expense of Maine’s existing casinos. LePage has also said that if he was sent a bill to abolish the Maine State Lottery, he would sign it, saying it “absolutely” targets the poor.
LePage has vetoed at least one bill for increasing Maine’s minimum wage, believing that wages should be increased by creating an environment for higher paying jobs in Maine through lowering energy costs and lowering taxes. He has supported preventing municipalities like Portland from having local minimum wages higher than the state’s. In response to a citizen initiated referendum to raise Maine’s minimum wage to $12 an hour by 2020, he stated that he supported a competing proposal to raise it to $10 an hour as less harmful to businesses who would have to pay the full minimum wage to tipped employees under the referendum.
LePage has criticized wind power and in particular the large-scale expansion of installed capacity mandated by Maine’s 2008 Wind Energy Act and wind energy’s large role in the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard. LePage argues that the policies are a major cause of the relatively high cost per kW of electricity in Maine—34% above the national average.
In February 2011, LePage was criticized by environmentalists when he proposed zoning 10 million acres (40,000 km2) of northern Maine for development, repealing laws that require manufacturers to take back recyclable goods for disposal, and other sweeping changes to environmental laws. In a statement LePage said, “Job creation and investment opportunities are being lost because we do not have a fair balance between our economic interests and the need to protect the environment.” Lisa Pohlmann, executive director of the Natural Resources Council of Maine—one of the state’s largest and oldest environmental advocacy groups—replied to his proposed changes saying, “We are shocked and stunned.” Maureen Drouin, executive director of the Maine Conservation Voters Education Fund, said, “A dirty environment is no way to bring new jobs to Maine.”
In 2009, LePage opposed allowing same-sex couples to marry. He does support the state recognizing only civil unions of all couples, believing it would give everyone the same legal standing. During his gubernatorial campaign, he iterated his opposition to same-sex marriage and expressed support for unspecified legal measures to protect committed same-sex couples. In October 2010 he stated that gay marriage should be left to the voters and that he had no personal views on the matter, though he would have vetoed a same-sex marriage bill if it reached his desk.
Welfare reform was a centerpiece of LePage’s gubernatorial campaign. In December 2011, citing a budget shortfall, LePage proposed sweeping changes to MaineCare (Maine’s Medicaid program).Those changes include dropping 5,000 to 6,000 low-income senior citizens with disabilities from the Drugs for the Elderly program (which provides low-cost prescription drugs to low-income elderly patients), and ending Medicaid coverage for up to 65,000 recipients, including many who are disabled or elderly. Reimbursement to hospitals and other medical providers would be reduced by up to 10 percent, which could trigger the elimination of up to 4,400 health care jobs. The changes could also result in higher premiums and higher co-pays for people with private health insurance.
LePage is known for his bombastic and off-the-cuff remarks that have, during his tenure as mayor of Waterville, and Governor of Maine drawn domestic and national controversy as well as critical acclaim. He also cited the fact that French was his first language as a reason for his controversial statements. Public opinion for LePage has been wide-ranging his entire tenure as governor due to his comments regarding women, African Americans, Native Americans, the poor, local colleges and universities, and government activities. At the beginning of his term as governor, he was criticized for refusing either to attend Martin Luther King, Jr. Day events in Portland or Orono or to meet with Maine representatives of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). His actions were called “astonishing and troubling” by civil rights group leaders and local newspapers.
In February 2011, LePage again gained national attention when he spoke on a local TV news program saying he hoped to repeal the Maine ban of Bisphenol A, voted for unanimously by the Maine Board of Environmental Protection, because “there hasn’t been any science that identifies that there is a problem” On March 28, it was reported that the LePage administration had dropped its opposition to the new BPA regulations. After a unanimous vote in the Senate, the Maine legislature on April 22 passed a bill to ban the use of BPA in beverage containers. LePage refused to sign the bill but it became law without his signature.
On March 23, 2011, Governor LePage sparked protests when he announced that he planned to remove a large mural depicting the history of the state’s labor movement from the lobby of the Maine Department of Labor offices Despite protests, on March 28 it was disclosed that the murals had been removed over the weekend. The Portland Museum of Art issued a statement that said LePage’s decision has tarnished the state’s reputation as a haven for artists. His actions sparked furthered backlash and lawsuits were brought forward regarding the murals.
On April 27, 2012, LePage stated that Maine’s “middle management” was corrupt sparking backlash from worker groups and Maine politicians. Maine State Employees Association President Ginette Rivard responded to the criticism of state workers by stating: “For LePage to call them ‘corrupt’ is baseless and insulting to every public worker who has dedicated their lives to making Maine a great place to live, work and raise a family.”
LePage is known for his dislike of Maine newspapers, once telling students at a school that “Reading newspapers in the state of Maine is like paying somebody to tell you lies.” While telling the editorial board of The Portsmouth Herald he did not want their endorsement for reelection, he said that newspapers were against him and “It’s futile. There’s a bias in the press I can’t change.” After a three-part report published by the Portland Press Herald, Kennebec Journal, and Morning Sentinel which alleged his Department of Environmental Protection commissioner was favoring former clients, he ordered his administration to not grant interviews to reporters of those newspapers or cooperate with their information requests. The order did not seem to extend to all state agencies, as the Department of Public Safety’s spokesman said he had been given no such instructions. Nine days after the U.S. federal government shutdown on October 1, 2013, LePage declared a civil emergency in Maine ending 17 days later. He said that the declaration was necessary in order to cope with the loss of federally funded positions during the shutdown, such as by transferring state-funded personnel to functions originally carried out by the federally funded personnel to minimize layoffs. His move to do so was met with wide-spread negative critcism, and was labeled as an unnecessary “overreach of power”.
On June 30, 2014, the website Talking Points Memo reported that LePage had met eight times with members of the sovereign citizen movement between January and September 2013. According to participants, the sovereign citizens group used these meetings, some of which lasted nearly three hours, to inform LePage of their beliefs, which include assertions that the US Dollar and Maine state courts are illegal, that Maine Senate President Justin Alfond and Maine House Speaker Mark Eves are guilty of treason and should be executed, and that the US government and the United Nations are planning for a war against Americans. LePage set up a meeting between Kennebec County sheriff Randall Liberty and the sovereign citizens group and asked Liberty to take the group’s concerns to the state attorney general.
LePage generated national headlines by stating at a January 6, 2016, town hall meeting in Bridgton that drug dealers “are guys with the name D-Money, Smoothie, Shifty; these types of guys, they come from Connecticut and New York, they come up here, they sell their heroin, they go back home. Incidentally, half the time they impregnate a young, white girl before they leave, which is a real sad thing because then we have another issue we have to deal with down the road.” The comment was condemned as racist by some Republicans and Democrats as well as the presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton, though a spokesman for LePage denied the comment had anything to do with race.
On August 24, LePage was asked about these comments; he denied being a racist but said that he had been compiling a binder of drug arrestees since January and that “90-plus per cent of those pictures in my book, and it’s a three-ringed binder, are black and Hispanic people.” When asked to provide the binder, LePage replied, “Let me tell you something: black people come up the highway and they kill Mainers. You ought to look into that. You make me so sick.” The Portland Herald subsequently filed a freedom of information request for LePage’s binder.
The following day, a reporter insinuated to LePage that Democratic State Representative Drew Gattine had called him a racist. LePage responded by calling Gattine and leaving him a voicemail message: “I would like to talk to you about your comments about my being a racist, you cocksucker. I want to talk to you. You want — I want you to prove that I’m a racist. I’ve spent my life helping black people and you little son of a bitch, socialist cocksucker. You — I need you to just fricking — I want you to record this and make it public because I am after you. Thank you.” He later invited reporters from the Portland Press Herald and WMTW to an interview to explain the comments, saying that “I wish it were 1825 and we would have a duel, that’s how angry I am, and I would not put my gun in the air, I guarantee you… I would point it right between his eyes, because he is a snot-nosed little runt and he has not done a damn thing since he’s been in this legislature to help move the state forward.” Gattine responded by calling LePage’s message “upsetting, inappropriate and uncalled for.” LePage produced a binder of drug arrestees and went through some of the mugshots with the press. Producing a page with a photo and press clipping of a young white woman who had been arrested, LePage called her a “very lovely young Mainer, maybe 20 years old.” He then held up another page with a picture of a black man on it and said “that’s the other culprit”. He also admitted that the binder had a mixture of black and white people in it. LePage’s comments has been widely condemned by Democrats and some Republicans, including U.S. Senator Susan Collins, State Senate President Michael Thibodeau, State House Minority Leader Kenneth Fredette, State Senator Roger Katz, State Senator David Woodsome. Leading Democrats have called LePage “unfit” to serve as Governor and have demanded his resignation.
On August 30, 2016, days after making his controversial remarks, LePage said that he was strongly considering resigning. In that case Maine’s Senate President would assume the office of Governor.
As of 2016, his approval ratings are at 38%, making him one of ten governors (out of 50) who have higher disapproval ratings (58%) than approval. LePage is consistently ranked as one of the most unpopular governors in the United States.
In 1971 LePage married Sharon Crabbe, whose family owned a lumber business in New Brunswick, where LePage worked as treasurer and general manager. After the wedding they resided in Perth-Andover. Their two daughters, Lisa and Lindsay, were born in 1975 and 1976. Paul LePage and Sharon Crabbe divorced in 1980. Crabbe now resides in Fredericton after her divorce from LePage along with her two daughters.
LePage has two children, Paul and Lauren, with his second wife, Ann DeRosby, whom he married in 1984. Since 2002, his household has also included a young man from Jamaica, Devon Raymond, Jr. (born 1985). LePage calls Raymond his adopted son, although adoption paperwork was not filed. LePage met Raymond in Jamaica through Raymond’s father, who caddied for LePage during a vacation there. His wife, Ann, has taken a job as a waitress in Boothbay to supplement the family income, as LePage is the lowest-paid governor in the US and the family is of limited wealth. LePage and his wife purchased a home in Boothbay on July 30, 2014 for $215,000 that they intend to live in once his term as governor has concluded. He is a self-described “French Catholic” who believes in God.
LePage revealed to radio station WLOB on January 11, 2017 that he had undergone bariatric surgery to lose weight, after his doctor warned that he was at risk of diabetes if he did not lose weight. He stated that he had lost 50 pounds after the surgery. It was unclear as to whether the procedure was paid for by his state health insurance or out of pocket.
Yes, I know this entry is long and detailed. But I told you Paul LePage was colorful. That’s one way to describe him. Others would be outrageous, uncivil, pig-headed, factually challenged, immoral, obstreperous, ignorant, bombastic, cocksure, irritable, and uncompromising. Maybe all of the above. Like Trump.45 he is a serial marriage devotee with two sets of children, an unguarded public speaker, and rather unpopular, with public job approvals solidly in the upper 30’s, just about where Trump.45 is on average.That doesn’t stop either of them from being confident in their own skins, whatever the facts may say.