UPDATE 4/13 7:00am: Click here to listen to Kruger in a radio interview. At about 2 minutes in, he actually says ‘I wish we could have fun with this’.
Rep. Chuck Kruger (D-Thomaston), the Democrat chair of the Maine legislature’s Moderate Caucus, used his Twitter account to express his view that former Vice President Dick Cheney should be executed. This comment has led some to question the validity of Kruger’s moderate credentials.
Kruger made the statement through his Twitter account this past summer, saying, “Cheney deserves same final end he gave Saddam. Hope there are cell cams,” a reference to technology that would allow Kruger to watch the proposed execution of the former Vice President of the United States.
A tip alerted The Maine Wire to the extreme comment just days after Kruger led a meeting of the Moderate Caucus that featured a visit from Eliot Cutler, a former Democrat and failed candidate for Governor in the fall of 2010.
The keynote speaker, Cutler talked about finding middle ground to work from. “I think we’re going to see a shift that draws the two parties back to the middle,” Cutler said in a Bangor Daily News article. “I think we’re going to see the return to civility and to moderation,” Cutler said in another interview with public radio.
Kruger’s statement is being viewed as anything but civil.
Representative Les Fossel (R-Alna), the Republican co-chair of the Moderate Caucus, said it is not the type of comment that Kruger has ever made to him in person or in front of him. “I have never heard anything like that from him in the caucus,” Fossel said. “In caucus he is a mild and mannered co-chair.”
“Obviously I disagree with his comment about [former vice-president] Cheney,” Fossel added.
The ‘moderate’ label in Maine has become fashionable as of late, as several prominent Democrats have shed their party affiliation in order to capitalize on the tradition of successful moderate political figures from Margaret Chase Smith to Olympia Snowe. In the limelight this year is former Democrat Angus King, who has resurrected his ‘independent’ political identity to fuel his run for U.S. Senate. Though King professes inclinations toward the political center by refusing to indicate which party he would caucus with, most political observers believe he would act as a functional Democrat in the Senate.
“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,” said Jason Savage, Executive Director of Maine People Before Politics.
“In addition to the fact that this dangerous statement violates any standard of decency for a politician representing the people of Maine, it also exposes the false narrative that self-proclaimed moderate politicians are trying to create,” Savage said.
Kruger’s views on moderation, though, may be at odds with actual moderates. While Fossel, Cutler and King have expressed the desire to establish common ground between centrists in both parties, Kruger is apparently looking for a united front between right- and left-wing extremists. “I think there is an opportunity to create common ground between the extremes of both parties,” he said in the BDN article.
It was unclear whether this nexus included the execution of any other public officials.
UPDATE 4/12 8:42am:
In a phone call with The Maine Wire, Kruger claimed he didn’t remember posting the Twitter comment.
“I’m not admitting or denying it,” said Kruger.”I don’t wish anybody’s death, that’s not really how I feel. I can be snarky, I can be a wise-ass.”
Kruger acknowledged that the comments were extreme, and seemed to conflict with his position with the Moderate Caucus. But, he said, there is “no connection between [the] tweet and my actions or positions in the legislature”
Kruger’s Twitter history was removed from public view after we contacted him for this story.
Drudge has linked this story and we’ve been working to keep up with server traffic.
The Maine Republican Party also sent out this email today, calling for Kruger’s resignation:
We wanted to make you aware of a story this morning on The Maine Wire about Democratic Representative Chuck Kruger of Thomaston.
“Kruger made the statement through his Twitter account this past summer, saying, “Cheney deserves same final end he gave Saddam. Hope there are cell cams,” a reference to technology that would allow Kruger to watch the proposed execution of the former Vice President of the United States.”
Kruger’s statements are outrageous, and have no place in our political discourse. To add insult to injury, Kruger is the co-chair of the Moderate Caucus!
Imagine if a Republican had made such statements about an elected official?
We can’t sit back and take this. It’s time for the GOP to fight back against the growing extremism from Democrat political figures.
Chuck Kruger should resign immediately and apologize for his outrageous remarks.
Call Chuck Kruger RIGHT NOW and tell him it’s time to go. Maine doesn’t need this kind of violent, sick hatred as part of our political culture.
Call Kruger directly on his cell phone at 207-596-3023, and tell him the people of Maine demand he resign immediately.
We need to take action when these things go unchallenged, and now is the time. Please call Kruger right now and let him know we aren’t going to sit back and let he and his extremist friends ruin our state.
CALL CHUCK KRUGER RIGHT NOW AT 207-596-3023.
UPDATE: Here’s Chuck Kruger, in apparently less violent times: