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ICYMI: Paul LePage’s COVID Lies Draw Criticism

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Press Herald: “A Lot of People Would Have Gotten Sick” if LePage Was Governor

This week, Press Herald columnist Greg Kesich took former Gov. Paul LePage to task over attempts to rewrite history. According to Kesich, the former Republican governor wants to make the 2022 election a referendum on who would have done a better job handling COVID, but the pandemic is a weak point for LePage, not Democratic Gov. Janet Mills. But as Kesich bluntly put it, “a lot of people would have gotten sick” if Paul LePage were governor during the pandemic.

Under Gov. Mills, Maine has some of the lowest rates of infection in the nation, among the highest rates of vaccination, and a rebounding tourism economy. But LePage is living in an “alternate reality,” believing Maine would have had the same low rates without common-sense public health restrictions.

“I can say with a high degree of certainty that, faced with a global pandemic, LePage would have made up a story about what was really happening; he would have blamed someone else for the problem he invented, and he would have said that the solution to the problem was to cut services for the poor and taxes for the rich,” wrote Kesich. “Meanwhile, a lot of people would have gotten sick.”

It’s easy to imagine how LePage would mishandle the pandemic. Regarding the opioid crisis, he said “they’re just going to die,” and he refused to fix problems when conditions at the Riverview Psychiatric Center led to federal sanctions. LePage likely would’ve followed guidance from other GOP governors like Greg Abbott, Kristi Noem, and Ron DeSantis, whose lack of leadership has led to skyrocketing COVID cases. LePage is grasping at straws to define this race because Gov. Mills’ administration is solid across the board.

“Paul LePage failed as governor once, and his COVID lies only confirm that he’s still the wrong choice for Maine,” said DGA Senior Communications Advisor Christina Amestoy. “LePage’s lies about Governor Mills’ nationally-recognized leadership can’t cover for his own record of gutting public health infrastructure and denying health care for tens of thousands of Maine people. Gov. Mills’ leadership has saved thousands of lives throughout the pandemic, and if this election becomes a referendum on the pandemic, she’s set for swift re-election.”