Maine has been at the center of calls for civility and bipartisanship since Sen. Olympia Snowe announced her retirement citing “political paralysis.” But one Maine Democratic legislator seems to have missed the memo, sending out a tweet in which he seemingly called for former Vice President Dick Cheney’s execution.
State Rep. Chuck Kruger, the Democratic chairman of the Maine Legislature’s Moderate Caucus, tweeted in August, “Cheney deserves same final end as he gave Saddam. Hope there are cellcams #cheney.” The Maine Wire first reported this, and preserved a screen shot of the now-deleted tweet.
In an email to The Daily Caller, Kruger clarified, “I do not wish for the death of Dick Cheney or anyone. I did NOT call for his execution, that was an absolute smear from an organization dedicated to damaging Democrats. I did make a lousy attempt at humor, and I regret that.”
His latest tweet suggests that he has taken that sentiment to heart: “Twitter is no place for lousy attempts at humor,” he wrote.
Kruger said he “joined the mod caucus because we are very polarized and several of us want to find common ground on key issues.”
But his comment is not being received as an indication of that.
“This is a profoundly disturbing thing for an elected official who represents the good people of Maine to say about another former or current elected official,” Jason Savage, executive director of Maine People Before Politics, told The Maine Wire.
“Is that something that a reasonable person would do?” asked Maine Republican Party Chairman Charlie Webster when reached by phone by TheDC. “I mean, I have absolutely no use for Barney Frank or Obama, or list all the Democrats. But would I write something like that? I mean, would anyone with any basic common sense and goodness do that? Even as a joke I wouldn’t write something down like that. I wouldn’t think it. I wouldn’t say it. I mean, how could anybody say that that was an appropriate thing to do?”
“It’s too bad that this is the kind of Democrat that the Maine Democratic Party has elected,” he added.
But Webster said such comments were symptomatic of Maine’s political climate.
“The Democratic Party in Maine is the most liberal in the country,” he told TheDC when reached by phone, saying a number of its members were very far left, many of them members of the Occupy movement.
“I don’t know Mr. Kruger, except I know he’s just another name that votes party line on every issue… There’s never been anybody who’s independent thinking,” he said.
When it was noted that Kruger chaired the Moderate Caucus, Webster retorted, “That’s an untrue statement. They can call themselves moderates, but there are only four or five in the entire legislature that would classify as that.”
“Just because I say I’m a brain surgeon, doesn’t make me a brain surgeon. He may say he’s chairman of some moderate caucus, but if you’re moderate, don’t you have to vote that way?” Webster added.