Republican Gov. Paul LePage of Maine abruptly stopped a speech and walked out of an event at the University of Maine in Farmington April 26 (video below).
LePage was angry about silent student protesters who held up signs that read: "LePage: Maine's Shame" and "Report Card, Subject: Environmental Issues, Theo Kalikow A+, Paul LePage F," notes the Franklin Sun Herald.
LePage was speaking at the dedication of a new education center to former UMF President Theodora J. Kalikow, notes the Portland Press Herald: "It’s an honor to be here [on] this rare occasion at the university where it is named the University of Maine, which is part of our great state and has a great history [...]"
LePage saw the signs and added, "I’m sorry, I’m done." He walked away from the podium, past the audience and reportedly said to the protesters: "Thank you, you idiots out back there with the signs."
After LePage stormed away, the student protesters folded up their signs and University of Maine System Chancellor James H. Page spoke instead.
Nickolas Bray, one of the student protesters, told the Portland Press Herald, "This day is about Theo Kalikow, and she was a champion of environmental stewardship and activism here at UMF, and Governor LePage doesn’t represent that at all."
"I did not think it was appropriate for him to be here supporting a building that he is fundamentally against in terms of its environmental features and what it stands for," Bray added.
Bray recalled LePage’s opposition to a bill that would increase solar power in the state. LePage has threatened to veto the bill, but did say on a local radio station April 26 that he was working to make the bill "more palatable."
Bray said that he decided to protest after he saw Allyson Hammond, the other student protester, post a picture of her sign on Facebook.
After the ceremony, people thanked the students for protesting.
A spokeswoman for LePage did not answer questions from the Portland Press Herald.