Maine Democratic chairman criticizes Gov. Lepage over comments

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA - AUGUST 12: Battle lines form between white nationalists, neo-Nazis and members of the "alt-right" and anti-fascist counter-protesters at the entrance to Lee Park during the "Unite the Right" rally August 12, 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia. After clashes with anti-fascist protesters and police the rally was declared an unlawful gathering and people were forced out of Lee Park, where a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee is slated to be removed. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

PORTLAND, Maine — The Latest on Maine Gov. Paul LePage’s comments that both sides are to blame for deadly violence in Charlottesville, Virginia (all times local):

11:50 a.m.

The chairman of the Maine Democratic Party says Republican Gov. Paul LePage’s comments about deadly violence at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, were “unhinged” and “ill informed.”

Chairman Phil Bartlett says LePage’s comments that both sides are to blame for the violence echo those of President Donald Trump. He says both men are doubling down on a “shameful and embarrassing” perspective.

Barlett also says a statement LePage made that removing Confederate statues is similar to removing a 9/11 monument says a lot about “the character of Paul LePage.”

Bartlett says other Maine Republicans should denounce LePage’s statements.


9:50 a.m.

Maine’s governor says taking down statues of Confederate figures is “just like” removing a monument to people who died in the 9/11 attacks.

Republican Gov. Paul LePage made the comments during an appearance Thursday morning on WGAN-AM when asked for his reaction to the deadly violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, over the weekend.

LePage says he condemns “both sides” that demonstrated. He says he finds white nationalist and far-left protesters “equally as bad” and “disgusting.”

LePage says left-wing protesters who want to remove Confederate statues are ignorant of history and want to erase it. He compares them to “the Taliban in Afghanistan” in their desire to remove monuments.

LePage says he didn’t find out about the violence until Tuesday because he doesn’t watch TV or read newspapers.