PORTLAND, Maine — Republican Gov. Paul LePage, who’s known for his brash comments, called the federal judge who allowed a lawsuit against President Donald Trump an “imbecile.” Four times, no less.
LePage hurled the insult Wednesday after learning that U.S. District Judge Peter Messitte in Maryland allowed the lawsuit accusing Trump, a Republican, of receiving unconstitutional gain to move forward.
Maryland and the District of Columbia accused the president of violating the emoluments clause of the Constitution. The provision bans the president from accepting gifts from foreign governments as well as U.S. states.
The judge limited the lawsuit to the president’s involvement with the Trump International Hotel in Washington.
The judge cited the Maine governor’s stay at the Trump hotel as an example of how government officials could feel obliged or coerced to stay there “in order to help them obtain federal favors.”
LePage’s office adamantly rejected any suggestion of a quid pro quo. “The governor chooses hotels based upon several factors including price, availability and security,” press secretary Julie Rabinowitz said.
LePage, meanwhile, called the judge an imbecile four times in brief remarks to WGME-TV and said he hoped his insults carried to the judge’s chambers.
“I didn’t realize I could buy the president so cheap, a night in his hotel and he’s in my back pocket,” LePage said. “That’s all I’m going to say. The judge that did that is an imbecile!”
He went on to use the word three more times.
The judge declined comment on Thursday.
LePage’s stay at Trump International in February 2017 was first reported by the Portland Press Herald after a public records request for the travel receipts of LePage and his state police security detail.
LePage’s group spent four nights there while LePage met with administration officials and testified against a national monument designation in Maine that’s under review by the Trump administration.