Maine’s Governor Paul LePage was roundly criticized for inflammatory remarks he made regarding the source of his state’s problems with heroin trafficking and use.
LePage spoke at a town hall meeting in Bridgton, Maine, on Wednesday, January 5. When asked a question about measures he was taking to combat substance abuse in the state, he blamed the problem on out-of-state dealers and chose interesting names to describe them:
These are guys with the name D-Money, Smoothie, Shifty—these types of guys—they come from Connecticut and New York, they come up here, they sell their heroin, they go back home. Incidentally, half the time they impregnate a young White girl before they leave, which is a real sad thing because then we have another issue we have to deal with down the road.
Assuming LePage isn’t confusing a massive love of British indie films for real life, it’s pretty apparent what he meant by “these types of guys.”
LePage later sort of apologized for his remarks (“Instead of ‘Maine women,’ I said ‘White women.’ … If you go to Maine, you can see it’s 95 percent White.”), but not before he was widely criticized. Maine author Stephen King sarcastically tweeted that LePage was “once more showing his sensitivity and intelligence,” while Hillary Clinton campaign staffer Marlon Marshall stated that the Republican governor’s “racist rants sadly distract from efforts to address one of our nation’s most pressing problems.”
Before LePage issued his ”apology,” his communications director Peter Steele insisted that he wasn’t speaking about race, according to the Portland Press Herald:
“The governor is not making comments about race. Race is irrelevant,” Steele said in a statement he emailed in response to a request to have the governor explain his comments. “What is relevant is the cost to state taxpayers for welfare and the emotional costs for these kids who are born as a result of involvement with drug traffickers. His heart goes out to these kids because he had a difficult childhood, too. We need to stop the drug traffickers from coming into our state.”
Steele apparently does not think that LePage was referring to race when he specified “a young White girl” in a town that is more than 95 percent White.