Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R) accused Democrats this week of having censored him repeatedly on recent occasions and warned that such "stifling" of speech could leave people wanting to take up arms.
Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, LePage claimed that Maine Democrats had set a "dangerous precedent" by refusing to let him address lawmakers during a recent state Legislature Appropriations Committee meeting, according to the Portland Press Herald.
"It's freedom of speech. You folks should understand that better than I. It is the First Amendment, then there is the Second and I love them both," LePage said. "The minute we start stifling our speech, we might as well go home, roll up our sleeves and get our guns out."
LePage reportedly went on to connect the Democrats' moves to the trio of scandals that have recently plagued President Barack Obama's administration: the IRS' targeting of conservative groups, the Department of Justice's seizure of Associated Press reporters' phone records and emails, and the handling of a terrorist attack at a U.S. facility in Benghazi, Libya last year.
LePage made a similar argument last week, when he moved his office out of the State House to protest Democrats who had demanded he remove a television from a hallway that is under the control of legislative leadership. Officials had expressed concerns that because the screen was touting LePage's legislative priorities, it constituted a violation of the rules against the display of partisan or political messages.
"Maine Democrats are taking their cue from the Obama Administration in Washington, D.C., which has violated the free-speech rights of American citizens and used the power of the government to silence those who disagree with them," the governor said in a statement. "If I have to remove myself from the toxic climate of censorship by Democrats in the State House to defend the taxpayers of Maine, then that’s what I will do.”
LePage moved to the governor's mansion across the street, but returned to his original office on Wednesday.