AUGUSTA, Maine, Aug. 20 (UPI) -- Maine Gov. Paul LePage told a group of fellow Republicans President Barack Obama hates white people, two state lawmakers who heard the remark said.
The lawmakers confirmed the comment when asked by a reporter but asked their names not be used for fear of retribution, the Portland Press Herald reported Tuesday.
LePage was speaking at an Aug. 12 GOP fundraiser in a Belgrade home and said Obama, a Democrat, could have been the best president ever had he highlighted his biracial heritage. LePage added Obama did not because he hates white people, the two lawmakers in attendance said.
"Yeah, he said it," said one. "It was one little thing from a speech but I think most people there thought it was totally inappropriate."
Two other state representatives who attended the event said they did not hear LePage's comments.
"I didn't hear him say anything like that," Rep. Alex Willette said.
Senior political adviser Brent Littlefield later defended LePage, noting the governor's life history includes his family caring for a Jamaican-born Maine high school student.
The newspaper added LePage has a history of inflammatory comments that have overshadowed his policy achievements, noting his comparison between the Internal Revenue Service and the Gestapo, the brutal Nazi Germany state police, and a suggestion, as governor, he would regularly tell President Obama to "go to hell."