President Donald Trump didn’t emerge in a void. The Republican Party across the United States continues to deal with racists like Shane Bouchard, the now former mayor of Lewiston, Maine, who abruptly resigned this Friday after texts surfaced featuring him making racist “jokes.” Heather Everly Berube made her exchanges with the now former mayor public as part of allegations he engaged in illegal activity as part of a secretive effort to… wait for it… use Bouchard’s opponent’s team’s internal emails against him. (Sound familiar?)
The “joke” that Bouchard made while discussing the effort is deeply disconcerting. He offered:
‘All my jokes are quite racist lol. What do you call 2 old black people sitting on your front lawn… Antique farm equipment’
Ironically, the emails that Bouchard obtained from Democrat Ben Chin included the candidate quipping about “a bunch of racists” that he’d run into while campaigning, a comment that was weaponized against Chin, who was thereby alleged to be biased against conservatives.
Apparently his supposed bias was well-placed, since even after his deeply questionable at-best text exchanges became public, Bouchard apologized but dismissed the issue as him saying “stupid things and stupid jokes occasionally” and not the callback to hundreds of years of violent racism that it really is.
He even went so far as to at least partly blame Berube for the “joke,” saying:
‘She was pushing me to just tell her any kind of joke and, I don’t know… it came out.’
He went even farther in some of his original response to the scandal, adding:
‘I don’t think you’ll find anything racist about me, period, in general.’
Apparently someone else made that joke then.
The exchange occurred before a special election late last year in which Chin’s campaign’s ultimate defeat is credited at least in large part to the email leak.
Despite investigation from state authorities, Bouchard quipped to Berube in a text conversation:
‘The whole thing and the fact that they are still harping on it still is actually laughable. I got Chin a tie on election night. I should have sent him a participation trophy.’
Berube had volunteered for Chin’s campaign and sent internal emails to the now former Lewiston mayor, but the Maine Examiner (which published the material) and Bouchard both deny that the eventual mayor’s team leaked them. Berube explicitly claimed otherwise in an appearance before the Lewiston City Council this week, and her allegations are now under reported investigation by local police and the state attorney general’s office. Lewiston is the second largest city in Maine, making the case an especially high-profile deal.
Without criminal charges, it was unclear what mechanism the council could have used to remove Bouchard from office, even if they all wanted to.
He joins an ever-growing list of Republicans around the country who have been caught in similar behavior, both privately and publicly.
For instance, the infamous and still-serving Iowa Republican Congressman Steve King posed a rhetorical question during a recent interview of when and why the terms “White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization” had become offensive.
The pattern will no doubt continue indefinitely as long as the GOP remains led by someone like President Donald Trump, who freely claims without any evidence that entire groups of people harbor vast unreported criminal networks with no basis to single the people out other than their race.
Featured Image via YouTube screenshot