Gov. Paul LePage speaks at the Republican Convention in Augusta, Maine, May 5, 2018. Credit: Robert F. Bukaty | AP

Gov. Paul LePage said Wednesday he’ll apologize for calling a state senator the “most repugnant human being” in August only if that senator apologizes to him.

The Republican governor told The Associated Press on Wednesday that he’ll otherwise only say sorry to Sen. Tom Saviello, R-Wilton, if “hell freezes over.”

Saviello, a moderate legislator and a former Democrat who has often feuded with LePage, said if he’s hurt the governor in any way, he apologizes. He initiated an investigation from the Legislature’s watchdog committee into whether LePage swayed a decision to divert public timber shipments from millowners who criticized his trade stances.

That probe is still ongoing, but investigators found no evidence that the governor played a role in it in an initial report released Aug. 20. That finding didn’t stop LePage from calling Saviello “the most repugnant human being I’ve ever seen” as he addressed the Legislature’s Government Oversight Committee. He was ruled out of order and left the room.

After that, the panel tasked its Republican and Democratic co-chairs to write to LePage asking him to apologize to Saviello. However, LePage ripped up the letter and sent it back to the committee’s co-chairs along with an Aug. 30 letter telling them that Saviello fabricates false accusations against him.

BDN State House reporter Michael Shepherd contributed to this report.

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