Maine Gov. Paul LePage said he offered his former staffer David Sorensen his old job back despite the fact that Sorensen resigned his job as a White House speechwriter last month when his ex-wife's allegations of physical abuse became public.
"I told him if he wants to come back, he's got a job," the Republican governor said during an interview with conservative radio host Howie Carr on Friday.
LePage — who suffered from domestic abuse as a child — said he does not believe the allegations and that he never witnessed anything "off-color" in the relationship between Sorensen and Sorensen's ex-wife, Jessica Corbett.
"I am 100% behind him," LePage said, adding that he thought Sorensen's departure from the White House was "premature."
Sorensen resigned from his job with the Trump administration Feb. 9 as The Washington Post was preparing a story on the alleged abuse after speaking with Corbett.
Although he strongly denies the allegations, Sorensen said he resigned to spare the Trump administration — which was already dealing with the fallout of the abuse allegations against former staff secretary Rob Porter — any further distractions.
Corbett told The Post that Sorensen was violent and emotionally abusive during their 2 1/2-year marriage. According to Corbett, Sorensen once ran over her foot with a car, put out a lit cigarette on her hand, threw her into a wall and made her fear for her life during one assault when they were alone on a boat.
Sorensen told The Post that he "never committed violence of any kind against any woman" and that, in fact, he was the one who was "the victim of repeated physical violence during our marriage, not her." He said Corbett injured herself when she chased him as he was pulling away in his car.
Corbett said she told the FBI about the abuse in October 2017 during Sorensen's background check.
LePage said Sorensen declined his job offer because he wants to continue with his career and "doesn't want to go backward."
Sorensen said it was logical that if LePage believes him to be innocent, he wouldn't "hold these baseless accusations against me."
"When one obviously baseless accusation is allowed to slide as fact, it denigrates the actual and well substantiated instances of domestic violence," Sorensen told USA TODAY in an email.
Domestic violence is a self-professed personal issue for LePage. He said he ran away from home at age 11 because of physical abuse at the hands of his father against both him and his mother.
LePage has said ankle bracelets should be a condition of bail for people charged with domestic violence and he issued an executive order directing state agencies to institute domestic violence training.
"As a man, it’s important that I say that abuse is wrong,” LePage said in 2011. "If there’s anything I do as your governor, this is the one thing that I will continue throughout my administration to fight."
In 2014, LePage expressed outrage that the NFL only gave a two-game suspension to former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice for a domestic violence arrest.
"Taking thugs and wife-beaters off the field may be bad for business, but you are playing games with people's lives," LePage said.
The Maine governor, who will complete his second term this year, is no stranger to controversy. He has compared the removal of Confederate monuments to taking down the 9/11 memorial, said he makes things up to confuse the news media, said Trump needs to show "authoritarian power," said out-of-state drug dealers "impregnate a young white girl before they leave," made a crude comment about a Democratic legislator not using Vaseline, joked that he wanted to blow up the Portland Press Herald building and said Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., should thank Republicans for ending slavery.
Who’s out at the Trump White House: departures and dismissals
Contributing: The Associated Press