GOP lawmaker says paramilitary training debate misinterpreted neo-Nazi sentiments.

Portland, Maine — A Republican state lawmaker accuses Democrats of twisting her statements to make her appear like a Nazi sympathizer during a discussion over paramilitary training restrictions. Rep. Laurel Libby of Auburn, who opposes the unlawful plan, mentioned media coverage of Maine neo-Nazi protests last year.  

“Let’s talk about the Nazis,” Libby said Wednesday in the House to emphasize free speech. “If people want to share, I'd like to know what they did that was wrong and infringed on another's right. She said holding a rally, even with guns, is legal.  

Maine House Democrats shared the video on social media. We won't tolerate MAGA extremism in Maine. See Libby's opponent, Democrat Dan Campbell, the Democratic committee wrote.  

On Sunday, Libby called Nazis and neo-Nazis “reprehensible” and Democrats' video film “deceitful” and “a fundraising stunt.” “It was completely misinterpreted. She called it disgusting and manipulative. “Everyone who watches that clip thinks I’m a 1930s and ‘40s Nazi sympathizer,” she said.  

Christopher Pohlhaus, a famous neo-Nazi and white supremacist, attempted to build a “blood tribe” training camp in northern Maine, prompting the measure to ban paramilitary training. After passing the House by one vote on Wednesday, Orono Democratic Rep. Laurie Osher's proposal needs one more Senate vote.  

Libby declared the bill illegal. “Ultimately, I don't care if I agree or disagree with a group. I must preserve Mainers' free speech and association as long as it doesn't hurt others. Government should do that, she said.  

Democratic Sen. Joe Baldacci, who supports the bill, said it passes constitutional scrutiny because it governs conduct over speech, creating a shadow military force for civil disorder. Not passing the bill would be a “open invitation for extremists to come back to Maine,” the senator warned.  

“Resorting to violence should not be the American way, ever,” Baldacci said. “It matters. This can't happen in Maine. We must equip law enforcement to stop it.”  

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