Maine Governor Paul LePage is a tea bagger favorite, a crank conspiracy theorist, and, following a chaotic budget forum on Thursday, the recipient of a jar of vaseline.
Yes, this deals with a rather crude joke regarding tax policies.
The budget forum took a turn for the chaotic when a former Democratic lawmaker verbally confronted LePage; former state Rep. Joanne Twomey stood up and launched into a contentious exchange with LePage regarding his proposal to slash taxes and allow municipalities to tax nonprofits with more than $500,000 in property value.
When the confrontation became too hostile, Twomey approached the stage. After struggling with security — who moved to apprehend her — she tossed a jar of Vaseline on the stage, where it landed near LePage’s feet.
This seems like a cryptic joke, but it makes sense in context. According to the Portland Herald-Press, who reported on the story, the inspiration was a crude joke LePage made regarding a Democratic lawmaker:
LePage sparked a media frenzy in June 2013 when he made a crude sexual remark involving Vaseline while criticizing a Democratic state senator.
[…] After the meeting, Twomey said she planned to hand the jar of Vaseline to the governor, but tossed it when security guards pulled her from the stage. In a high-profile incident while lawmakers were finalizing the state’s last two-year budget in 2013, LePage told a camera crew that a Democratic state senator “claims to be for the people, but he’s the first one to give it to the people without providing Vaseline.”
Twomey was tossed out of the event, followed quickly by LePage himself, who reported made an exit, stage left following the incident. Twomey wasn’t charged with a crime following the showdown.
Later, a spokesman for the governor, Peter Steele, commented that it was unfortunate that the forum ended the way it did:
“Law enforcement takes that very seriously,” Steele said. “You’re not allowed to rush a sitting governor. She had something in her bag and it looked like she was reaching for it and they sprang into action. It was unfortunate, but there’s zero tolerance.”
You can watch the incident below: