LEWISTON, ME – MAY 4: Gov. Paul LePage speaks during a town hall meeting in Lewiston Wednesday, May 4, 2016. (Photo by Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images)
Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R) said he made a “big error” on Tuesday when he said the United States needs Donald Trump to “show some authoritarian power.”
LePage, who has endorsed Trump, said he misspoke and meant to use the word “authoritative” instead of “authoritarian.”
“Yesterday, I was on the radio and I made a big error. Instead of using the word authoritative, I used the word authoritarian,” LePage said during a press conference on Wednesday. Despite the apology, LePage clarified that he still thinks President Barack Obama is a “dictator.”
“Donald Trump, on the other hand, is a very powerful personality, and he has a very authoritative persona,” LePage said. “When he is in the room, people notice him. He does not have to go behind closed doors with community activists to get things done and to hurt American people. That’s really what I really meant.”
In front of LePage at the press conference were several Matryoshka dolls, featuring pictures of Bill and Hillary Clinton as well as several women Bill Clinton has been accused of having sexual relationships with. He said he received the dolls in 2008 as a gift from someone from Russia and said they are an example of how Americans are mocked abroad.
“And you know who’s the smallest one, [who] could become the most powerful woman in the world,” LePage said, referring to Hillary Clinton and the size of each of the dolls.
During a radio appearance on Tuesday, LePage said authoritarian rule under a Trump presidency would be a good thing.
“Sometimes I wondered that our Constitution is not only broken, but we need a Donald Trump to show some authoritarian power in our country and bring back the rule of law,” LePage said. “Because we’ve had eight years of a president, he’s an autocrat, he just does it on his own, he ignores Congress and every single day, we’re slipping into anarchy.”
“John McCain, he spent his time in Vietnam, he had a lovely wife here, when he got released, he dumped her. I mean that’s not the great generation. So he’s got skeletons in his closet. We all do,” he said.
LePage addressed the press at length on Wednesday after declaring in August that he would no longer speak to the media.
Asked whether he would start speaking to the media again after Wednesday’s press conference, the governor said “no.”
“I would speak to you if you guys wouldn’t have made so much of a big deal about a missed word. I have no respect for you at all, make no bones about that. I think you all live in a world of words, and your life is to destroy people instead of doing the good things.”