Did Maine Gov. LePage Even Speak To NAACP About Visiting Only Black Prisoners?

Views

Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R) apparently never spoke with local NAACP organizers over visiting black prisoners in jail, the Portland Press Herald reports. That conversation had served as the supposed justification for LePage’s eventual “kiss my butt” diss to the NAACP.

LePage says the NAACP invited him to meet with black prisoners at a state prison on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, an offer he declined. He said he would only go if he could meet with all prisoners, but that it wasn’t acceptable to them. When the NAACP criticized his non-participation, he told them to “kiss my butt.”

But Maine NAACP director Rachel Talbot Ross told the Press Herald that the invitation fiasco never even happened.According to email messages reviewed by the Press Herald, the invitation makes no mention of the race of prisoners LePage would visit with, and Ross added that the event was meant to include all prisoners.

Ross claims that the only communication she received from LePage’s campaign was a notice that a scheduling conflict kept LePage from attending the event.

“You have to wonder why he lied,” she said.

Dan Demeritt, LePage’s spokeperson, told WGAN Wednesday that the situation was a result of “miscommunication,” citing hectic days during LePage’s campaign. (Listen to the whole interview here.)

“We need to do a better job of communicating,” he said.

Demeritt also told the Press Herald that he couldn’t say exactly where the confusion over LePage visiting only black prisoners came from, but said the NAACP is choosing to “nitpick about an invitation that occurred or did not occur six months ago.”

Read our coverage of the continuing saga here.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

David Taintor is a news editor at Talking Points Memo. Previously, he worked at NBC News and Adweek. He’s a native of Minnesota. Reach him at taintor@talkingpointsmemo.com.

LIKE US ON FACEBOOK