Paul LePage, a Republican, was elected Governor of Maine last November. During his election campaign, according to an article in Politico, the NAACP had repeatedly asked him to appear at some of their events to address their leadership. He consistently rejected their invitations. His basis for this action was that he doesn’t cater to special interest groups, that he considers the NAACP to be a special interest group, and that he won’t be held hostage by any special interests.

Then, this week, a leader of the state NAACP told the Kennebec Journal that the organization asked LePage to attend a number of MLK Day events in December, but that the governor had rejected them. Rachel Talbot Ross, state NAACP director, said, “We don’t want to misinterpret his intention, but the message we’re getting is that we’re not welcome and we’re not part of the Maine he’s preparing to lead for the next four years.”

The governor’s spokesman responded that he has made a number of previous commitments and would not be able to attend events either in Portland or Bangor being held by the group. Instead, during his radio address to the state today, LePage will discuss the importance of the MLK holiday and on Monday will issue a proclamation naming it MLK Day of Service throughout the state.

When interviewed by a local television station about the NAACP’s concerns, LePage responded that the interviewer can “tell them to kiss my butt.” He made clear that his decision had nothing to do with African-Americans by stating “If they want, they can look at my family picture. My son happens to be black, so they can do whatever they’d like about it.” His son is adopted.

An audio of his interview is here: