(WASHINGTON) — President Trump is hoping controversial Maine Gov. Paul LePage will make a run for the U.S. Senate in 2018, a source familiar tells ABC News.
The Washington Post reported on Wednesday that the president had encouraged LePage to challenge Independent Sen. Angus King in next year’s election. King often caucuses with the Democrats.
The White House has declined to comment on the record about whether the President is encouraging LePage to run, but Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah said “the president is actively engaged in fundraising, candidate recruitment and other efforts to help elect Republicans up and down the ballot.”
LePage has made headlines over the years for controversial comments, including a remark about out-of-state drug dealer in 2016 than many considered racist.
“These are guys by the name D-Money, Smoothy, Shifty. These type of guys that come from Connecticut and New York. They come up here and sell their heroin, then they go back home,” he said at the time. “Incidentally, half the time they impregnate a young white girl before they leave, which is a real sad thing.”
LePage later expressed regret for the remark, saying he made a “slip-up.”
“I was going impromptu and my brain didn’t catch up to my mouth,” LePage said. “Instead of saying Maine women I said white women…and I’m not going to apologize to the Maine women for that because if you go to Maine, you can see it’s 95 percent white.”
LePage also received criticism in 2012, when he compared the Internal Revenue Service to the Nazis.
“The Holocause was a horrific crime against humanity and, frankly, I would never want to see that repeated,” he told a reporter for an alternative weekly newspaper in Vermont. “Maybe the IRS is not quite as bad — yet,” he said.
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