LePage Calls ‘Fake News’ on Report Trump Wants Him to Challenge King

Report didn’t adequately list his accomplishments as Maine’s governor, LePage political adviser says

Maine Gov. Paul LePage greets the crowd before then-Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks in Portland in August 2016. (Sarah Rice/Getty Images file photo)

Maine Gov. Paul LePage did not take kindly to a report that President Donald Trump wants him to challenge Maine Sen. Angus King, branding the story as “fake news.”

LePage, a businessman-turned-Republican politician, called the report “vile,” according to a tweet by a WCSH-TV reporter. 

The Washington Post first published the story, which cited two anonymous sources familiar with discussions between the president and his political advisers.

In October, Trump’s former chief political strategist Steve Bannon tried to coax LePage’s wife Ann LePage into the race to unseat King, an independent in his first Senate term and a former two-term Maine governor.

LePage did not necessarily take issue with the Post’s characterization of the president’s desire for him to enter the race against King, but rather with the fact the story left out too many of his accomplishments as governor.

“The Post certainly chose a short description of the governor’s tenure which did not reflect improvements to the state’s economy, budget, sustainability and reforms which have improved the state,” Brent Littlefield, LePage’s political adviser, told the Portland Press Herald via text.

LePage also reprimanded the Post for quoting Amy Fried, a University of Maine political science professor whom LePage considers biased. LePage thinks Fried is a “liberal political activist,” Littlefield indicated.

Since 2015, LePage has said numerous times on local talk radio shows in Maine that he was considering mounting a challenge to King in 2018.

But this past August he told a Rotary Club he would not run for Senate. In May, Littlefield issued a statement that his client would not be gunning for Senate.

LePage is term-limited at the end of next year.

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