PORTLAND — Critics are putting pressure on Maine Gov. Paul LePage to apologize for referring to the Internal Revenue Service as “the new Gestapo.”

In his weekly radio address Saturday, LePage attacked the Supreme Court’s decision that upheld President Obama’s health care law.

LePage said the court’s decision has “made America less free” and that people have no choice but to buy health insurance or “pay the new Gestapo — the IRS.”

Democrat Ethan Strimling, a political commentator, said today that the Gestapo remark represents the first time the governor has used such racially-charged language.

The Anti-Defamation League’s regional director called the governor’s remark “hurtful and inappropriate.” Derrek Shulman says comparisons to the Nazi police force have no place in politics or anywhere else.

The Democratic leaders of the House and Senate issued a statement on Sunday calling LePage’s language “intentionally offensive.” Rep. Emily Cain and Sen. Justin Alfond said Holocaust survivors and World War II veterans who witnessed the terror of Adolf Hitler’s secret police “should not be trivialized for political shock.”

Maine’s governor previously told the NAACP to “kiss my butt,” called protesters “idiots,” referred to state government middle managers as “corrupt” and even said he’d tell the commander in chief to “go to hell.”

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