Maine Gov. Paul LePage left a profane voicemail for a state lawmaker asking him to "prove that I’m a racist" after accusations to that effect.
LePage, a Republican, left the voicemail for Democratic State Rep. Drew Gattine on Thursday, according to the Portland Press Herald.
The uncensored audio (below) contains several explicit phrases.
A bombastic politician and one who does not mince words, the 67-year-old is a frequent target of criticism and magnet for controversy.
Earlier this week, LePage doubled down on comments he has made in the past about the racial background of drug dealers in Maine.
He infamously said that "90-plus percent … are black and Hispanic people" in remarks that went viral and caused a media firestorm.
Subsequently, Gattine was identified by local media as having called LePage racist, though for his part, Gattine denies having doing so.
In any case, LePage let him have it on his voicemail …
"Mr. Gattine, this is Gov. Paul Richard LePage," he says. "I would like to talk to you about your comments about my being a racist, you (expletive)."
"I want to talk to you. I want you to prove that I’m a racist. I’ve spent my life helping black people and you little (expletive), socialist (expletive)."
"You … I need you to … just friggin’ … I want you to record this and make it public because I am after you. Thank you."
Be careful what you wish for?
LePage apologized for the voicemail Friday, but said being labeled a racist is "the absolute worst, most vile thing you can call a person."
"I didn’t know Drew Gattine from a hole in the wall until yesterday," LePage said, and the accusation "made me enormously angry."
"When a TV reporter asked me for my reaction about Gattine calling me a racist … I called Gattine and used the worst word I could think of."
"I apologize for that to the people of Maine, but I make no apology for trying to end the drug epidemic that is ravaging our state."
On Thursday, the governor reportedly took credit for leaving the voicemail, and said he would like to challenge Gattine to a duel.
"When a snot-nosed little guy from Westbrook calls me a racist, now I’d like him to come up here because, tell you right now, 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 not be (Alexander) Hamilton."
"I would point it right between his eyes."
"[Gattine] 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."
Friday, LePage walked back the idea of shooting his political rival, saying that "Obviously, it is illegal today; it was simply a metaphor."
"I meant no physical harm to Gattine."
Maine Democratic Party Chairman Phil Bartlett called LePage’s remarks a "threat" and said he is "clearly unfit to lead our state."
Interestingly, LePage is an outspoken supporter of Donald Trump, who was slammed after suggesting someone assassinate Hillary Clinton.
Here’s the voicemail in question: