Gov. Paul LePage has penned a series of handwritten notes in response to Mainers who have written to him criticizing his stance on the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, that ignited a fierce public debate over racism, its Confederate symbols and how President Trump responded to the conflict.

The messages from LePage to Laurel Daly and Darcey Poulin were shared on Facebook over the weekend. Poulin also sent a copy of her message, as well as LePage’s response, to the Portland Press Herald.

“It is so VERY disappointing to have a governor who will not condemn the racists and violent actions of the KKK and Nazis in Charlottesville this past weekend,” Poulin wrote the Republican governor in a fax message last week.

In a response to Poulin, a Waterville resident, dated Aug. 16, LePage writes: “You must be reading the liberal press. Funny how you don’t listen until it suits your own bigotry.”

On Aug. 17, LePage was asked on WGAN radio about the protests and counterprotests over the proposed removal of a statute of Confederate Civil War Gen. Robert E. Lee in Charlottesville. LePage echoed the sentiments of Trump, who drew a moral equivalency between the white nationalist protesters and the groups that engaged with them in counterprotests. One counterprotester was killed when she was struck by a car driven into a crowd, and two police officers died when the helicopter in which they were monitoring the protests crashed. The man accused of driving the car that killed the protester and wounded 19 others has expressed pro-Nazi views.

On the radio talk show, LePage condemned the Ku Klux Klan and its supporters, but he also said that those countering the protests of white nationalists and neo-Nazis, who were demonstrating against the removal of the statue of Lee, were “equally as bad.”


“I think what they are standing for is equally as bad, they are trying to erase history,” LePage said. “How can future generations learn if we are going to erase history? That’s disgusting.”

LePage has frequently mentioned his opposition to the KKK and often notes Maine’s experience with the organization, which held a large rally and participated in a parade with hundreds of members wearing white hoods in Brownville Junction in 1924. The KKK at that time in Maine was on the march against French-Canadian immigrants, who were largely Catholic, another target of the KKK. LePage is both Catholic and French-Canadian and grew up speaking French as his first language.

Last week, fliers promoting the KKK and urging people to join the group were being anonymously distributed in Boothbay Harbor, and in January of this year similar fliers were found in Freeport and Augusta.

Responding to the distribution of fliers in January LePage said: “I find it appalling, I find it disgusting and there is no room for that in our society. Just the simple thought of it is appalling; the brain that thought that up is a sick brain.”

According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, a civil rights legal advocacy group based in Alabama, the Militant Knights of the Ku Klux Klan had an active chapter in Maine as of 2016.

In her message to LePage, which also appears to have been sent by fax, Daly wrote, “Silence in the face of immorality is tantamount to consent.” LePage initially responded by scrawling on the message, “Return to sender. Who is the racist calling out folks who have nothing to do with this horrific tragedy.”


In a follow-up letter to Daly dated Aug. 17, LePage’s wrote on his official stationery: “Both groups should be taken to task for their behavior. My entire life I have spoken out against the KKK. The Anti-fascists are no better, they are trying to erase history. Like or not history should stay in place, and we need to have future generations not repeat the mistakes of the past.”

The message continues, “Frankly, my heart goes out to the two state troopers who were killed and their families. They were just doing their jobs trying to prevent violence. I stand for PEACE – you should also.”

In her message to the Press Herald, Poulin said she was “shocked” by LePage’s response.

“I don’t feel like our Governor should be speaking to any of his constituents this way and feel like the public has a right to know how he responds to someone who doesn’t agree with his actions,” Poulin wrote.

A note about Charlottesville was also faxed to LePage by Bren Goode, who shared the message with the Press Herald. LePage responded to Goode’s fax with his own note, saying, “Both parties to the events of Charlottesville are guilty of racism.”

Neither Goode and Daly could immediately be reached for comment Monday.


The fax messages to LePage appear to be part of a semi-organized campaign that used a text-messaging application.

According to a post by Poulin on Facebook Sunday morning, LePage’s message to her was delivered by mail after she sent her message to him using the faxing service.

A post on Resistbot’s Facebook page links to a story about LePage’s remarks on WGAN and suggests viewers use its messaging service to fax public officials, “Let them know how you think they are doing,” the post reads. The message featuring the LePage story appears to have been shared only 18 times.

It is unclear how many people messaged LePage or how many handwritten notes he sent in response. A message to LePage’s office seeking those details and comment was not returned Monday.

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