Russian-backed Internet trolls have been trying to sow chaos and discord in American society by drawing attention to the racist comments of Gov. Paul LePage, according to documents released by Sen. Susan Collins. But just like Maine voters, the trolls appeared divided in their support for the governor, with one calling LePage a “patriot” and the other calling him a “racist.” Two weeks ago, Sen. Susan Collins presented the offending Kremlin-linked Facebook posts to executives from Facebook, Twitter and Google at a hearing of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

“It is very clear that Russian activities on your social media platforms go far beyond the paid political ads that appeared last year,” Senator Collins told the social media executives. “The primary purpose of Russians’ active measures is to exploit and aggravate the divisions in American society and to undermine public confidence in our democratic institutions. And those efforts have not stopped. They continue to this very day.”

Collins pointed to an anti-LePage Facebook post by two Russian-financed black video bloggers, “Williams & Kalvin Johnson,” who claimed to be Nigerian Black Lives Matter activists living in Atlanta delivering “a word of truth” to African-American audiences, according to the Daily Beast. In one video, one of the trolls accused the Clintons of being “serial killers who are going to rape the whole nation,” but praised Donald Trump with a black power fist, arguing that the future president can’t be a racist because he’s a “businessman” and “when you are a racist, then your business is going down.” But they didn’t have anything nice to say about LePage after the governor declared during a press conference in August 2016 that “people of color are the enemy” and implied that they should be shot. In a post titled “GOVERNOR OF MAINE SAYS PEOPLE OF COLOR ARE ‘THE EMENY,’” the propaganda asks if LePage wants to “repeat the Rwandan genocide.”



“After this statement we can clearly see what kind of people serve in American government!” the post states. “White racist supremacy, that is for sure! The only way to avoid mass killings of Black people is to fire Lepage and all who have the same racist beliefs from American government!”

After Maine media reported that someone drew the governor wearing a Ku Klux Klan outfit on a mural in Portland, the troll account offered another hot take: “That is not a secret that America is the country of white supremacy! And people like LePage must be replaced from their positions in the government. America doesn’t need racist politicians. Black people are tired of white supremacy!”

But the Russian-backed troll account “Being Patriotic” defended LePage after he compared the removal of Confederate monuments to taking down the 9/11 Memorial in the aftermath of the murder of Heather Heyer by a neo-Nazi in Charlottesville, Virginia last August. The account cited LePage’s comments on the radio that he was receiving death threats for his incendiary remarks.

“When even the governor is not safe from leftist haters, then what can we say about ordinary citizens?” the account wrote in a post. “Liberals are now acting like terrorists. They are trying to intimidate everyone who disagrees with them. Hope our police will take appropriate measures against these cowards.”

Both of the offending accounts have since been taken down and the executives from Google and Twitter said they would continue to remove such deceptive content in the future. It’s not known how effective the propaganda was, given that there are already millions of homegrown trolls already swarming the internet. And certainly the biggest internet troll around these parts didn’t come from Russia — he was born and raised in Lewiston, Maine.