Maine gov apologizes for 'Gestapo' remark
July 9th, 2012
02:59 PM ET
7 years ago

Maine gov apologizes for 'Gestapo' remark

(CNN) - Maine Gov. Paul LePage apologized Monday for referring to the Internal Revenue Service as the "Gestapo" in his weekly radio address over the weekend.

"It was not my intent to insult anyone, especially the Jewish Community, or minimize the fact that millions of people were murdered," the Republican governor said in a statement.

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In a speech Saturday blasting the Supreme Court's recent decision to uphold President Barack Obama's health care reform, LePage directly addressed the high court's ruling of the law's penalty as a "tax."

He argued that Congress could now use its taxation power to "compel behavior or lack thereof," and asked what the government would do next: "More taxes if we don't drive Toyota Priuses or if we eat too much junk food or maybe even pea soup?"

He continued: "This decision has made America less free. We the people have been told there is no choice. You must buy health insurance or pay the new Gestapo – the I.R.S."

LePage's office posted his prepared remarks on his website, which includes the sentence about the Gestapo. It also links to audio of the speech, but the link fails to connect to the actual clip.

In his apology Monday, he expressed concern that the controversy had overshadowed the original intent of his address.

"Clearly, what has happened is that the use of the word Gestapo has clouded my message," he said, saying the health care law "rations" care and could "negatively impact millions of Americans."

"We no longer are a free people. With every step that Obamacare moves forward, our individual freedoms are being stripped away by the Federal Government. This should anger all Americans," he said.

Democratic state lawmakers, seizing on the comments this weekend, had charged the governor with trivializing those who suffered under the Gestapo, the secret police force that operated under Nazi-controlled Germany.

House Democratic Leader Representative Emily Cain and Assistant Democratic Leader Senator Justin Alfond said the language was "intentionally offensive."

"This goes beyond political rhetoric," Cain said in a statement.

Her office added that LePage, who's known for making off-the-cuff statements in the past, read his speech from prepared remarks, and did not ad-lib the remark during his address.

"He was trying to pick a fight, he knew exactly what he was doing," Alfond told CNN, saying he was worried about how the comments may affect the state's reputation to outsiders.

"The governor should do something right for the wrong that he created."

LePage was elected in 2010 with tea party support. His office did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

- CNN's Janet DiGiacomo, Steve Brusk and Ashley Killough contributed to this report.

Filed under: Health care • Maine • Paul LePage • Supreme Court • Taxes
soundoff (222 Responses)
  1. carly

    Just another right wing fool. what a surprise.

    July 9, 2012 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  2. GOP Hate America

    ahhh Christian Morals

    July 9, 2012 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  3. natchmo

    Putting aside that the twisted gov. is an absolutely a 'bugger' or perhaps popinjay on this, apology not accepted. Yet, I wonder about all the screaming around the IRS on the ACA. Nothing but politics. I will quote from the statute. After the IRS instructions in this matter it states: "In the case of any failure by a taxpayer to timely pay any penalty imposed by this section, such taxpayer shall not be subject to any criminal prosecution or penalty with respect to such failure." (section 5000A(g) overrides section 5000A(b-d)). In context, property liens are prohibited also. The IRS cannot legally enforce the penalties in the statute. End of my thread...

    July 9, 2012 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  4. Jason

    Give me a freaking break. Give this guy a break. Nobody actually things he was trying to marginalize anyone who suffered during WWII, including Jews. This guy was saying that the Federal Government's power is expanding rapidly and it is scary. He made a good point. The only ones concerned with what he said is those on the far left. And their only concern is how they can use it to further their cause. Nobody was actually offended. In fact I suspect those on the left were overjoyed that they could make something out of nothing (i.e. the oposite of offended).

    July 9, 2012 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  5. joe

    IRS like the Gestapo, caryy guns.

    July 9, 2012 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  6. fredricwilliams

    The Governor gave the liberals a wonderful way to submerge his message. There is nothing "secret" about the IRS - unlike the Gestapo - we all know it quite well. The Governor could have just left it at that.

    July 9, 2012 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  7. Tim Maxwell

    "..tea-party support"... that explains it!!

    July 9, 2012 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  8. Shannon

    The people who belong to the Republican party just seem to have lost their minds. They are the most hate filled, bigoted, racist group. Everyone is the enemy to them, does this fool understand that American citizens work for the IRS, and they are just doing their jobs. He's a typical Republican, he wants all the benefits of living in this country, but he wants them all for free.

    July 9, 2012 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  9. hannah

    How can a person be free without health care? I don't think so. If you get sick and can't pay for it, then you lose your house, your savings or your life and you are not free. Where are these people coming from. They are nuts.

    July 9, 2012 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  10. LaPlut

    I'm from Maine and this idiot won his seat with only 39% of the vote back in'10, thanks to an independent that ran at the same time. Please do a search for 61% Maine and you'll see why this ass hat will be gone. We need your support!

    July 9, 2012 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  11. firstbrandyjack

    How often do the guilty accuse others of the crime, the accuser is committing?

    July 9, 2012 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  12. Donkey Party

    "Blah, blah, blah, individual freedoms being stripped away". Amazing. What about the GOP's assault on women's freedoms? Or the GOP's assault on LGBT freedoms? Or the GOP's assault on American's right to vote? If you vote for the GOP, you are a gullible idiot.

    July 9, 2012 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  13. The Film Professor

    What a dumb thing to say. But then again, he is a Republican, and they say stupid things.

    July 9, 2012 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  14. Dave

    Being a complete dolt must be a requirement for tea party membership.

    July 9, 2012 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  15. tallone

    Maybe there should be a law governing how much Sir Jowls of Little
    Brains eats.

    July 9, 2012 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  16. closedmind

    You would think the Fascist would know about the Gestapo.

    July 9, 2012 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  17. Pop Goes the Weasel

    Funny that's it's so often the right winger conservatives ( i.e. teapartiers) who decry the gestapo, jackboot tactics and the Nazis when often they are the ones to employ such tactics in the first place. They call dissenters and people who disagree with them unAmerican, unPatriotic, even traitors. Well, that's exactly how the Nazis tried to isolate decent people who disagreed with them.

    July 9, 2012 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  18. Sumsanity

    What a dope. Don't apologize for telling the truth. They may not murder people but they have almost unlimited power to ruin a person's life. And Obamacare will hire 15,000 more agents for Der Fuerher.

    July 9, 2012 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  19. zombietimeshare

    Ha! If you read what he said it was really a non-apology apology. While calling the IRS the new Gestapo he didn't retract the sentiment just his choice of a word. He knows full well the IRS=Gestapo connection has been made. Good for him, the description was apt, despite the fake outrage of his political opponents.

    July 9, 2012 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  20. Doug

    When I lived in Maine, they applied a sin tax to tobacco, not once but twice, at a rate more than double the product value. Not a nickle or a dime, $13 tax on an already taxed $12 dollar can of tobacco. In Maine, you are compelled to carry car insurance. Where is the difference, LePage? You took an oath to uphold the law. As did Perry, Christie, and Jindal. While there is no penalty for not complying for you GOP Govs, other than harming the people of your own states, that breach of solemn oath is grounds for impeachment by those you have harmed.

    July 9, 2012 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  21. SteveInMN

    I, for one, have to respect his insight.

    After all, who better to recognize Nazis than Rethuglicans?

    July 9, 2012 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  22. bill

    The hate filled left wing fundamentalist racist progressives are out in force today.

    July 9, 2012 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  23. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    LePage was elected by the teabaggers, that says it all, he's a light weight ignoramus. I thought Murdoch and Welch told these Republicans to shut up and bring in the pros, I guess LePage didn't get the message.

    July 9, 2012 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  24. 22X Richer

    The governor should not have apologized. I've had to deal wtih the IRS. They are belligerent thugs.

    July 9, 2012 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  25. Mark

    This utter crappola about the so called tyranny of having to buy health insurance has got to stop and it starts with calling out nitwits such as Governor Moonbeam when they make idiotic comments like comparing paying $100 to the IRS because you won't buy health insurance to being placed in a slave labor camp and then gassed by the Gestapo because you're a jew. It's not quite the same, is it? This Governor requires people in Maine to buy car insurance....oh the TYRANNY of financial responsibility! And if you don't the governor will fine you $500...What an outrage...requiring financial responsibility by citizens. WHERE IS THE TEA PARTY OUTRAGE OVER THIS TYRANNICAL USE OF GOVERNMENT POWER???? The sad truth is that the Governor is a pathetic moron who can't tell the difference between fact and fiction.

    July 9, 2012 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
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