Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R) made remarks at a Bridgton, Maine, town hall meeting on Wednesday that have now been condemned as racist. The purpose of the meeting was to address the state issue of widespread heroin addiction and solutions to the problem. Instead LePage commented on drug dealers who live in New York and Connecticut with names like “D-Money” who come to Maine, sell heroin and impregnate “young, white” girls.
According to a CNN report, Paul LePage faults the media –not his own words– for the negative publicity he is now experiencing, stating (to the press), “Yous [sic] don’t like me and I don’t like you.”
“The traffickers—these aren’t people who take drugs. These are guys by the name D-Money, Smoothie, Shifty. These type of guys that come from Connecticut and New York. They come up here, they sell their heroin, then they go back home. Incidentally, half the time they impregnate a young, white girl before they leave. Which is the real sad thing, because then we have another issue that we have to deal with down the road.”
The comments have attracted additional news coverage for Paul LePage, who is already engaged in an abuse-of-power scandal, ignited by threatening charter school officials with withdrawal of state funding if Democratic Congressman Mark Eves was not fired. The school conceded, as its doors would have closed without state funds. But, there are laws against public officials engaging in such threats.
Maine lawmakers plan to move forward next week on a motion that could lead to Paul LePage’s impeachment https://t.co/H4ihoQ3WIW
— Amanda Terkel (@aterkel) January 7, 2016
Since the town hall meeting speech was initially reported and the videos have gone viral, LePage offered what some view as an apology but others see as justification, added CNN.
“I made one slip-up. I may have made many slip-ups. I was going impromptu in my brain, didn’t catch up to my mouth. Instead of saying, ‘Maine women,’ I said, ‘White women.’ I’m not going to apologize to the Maine women for that because if you go to Maine you will see we are essentially 95 percent white.”
Peter Steele, a spokesperson for Paul LePage stated that the issue is not about race, but the children who are born from Maine women having relationships with drug traffickers, and the cost in welfare payments. Further denials were made by LePage who stated he didn’t use names like “Smoothie” and “Shifty” for their racial connotations, stating, “What’re they, black? I don’t know if they’re White, Black, Asian, I don’t know.
Not only Democrats, but moderate Republicans, have also condemned Paul LePage’s remarks. In fact, the blog that broke the news, Get Right Maine is written by Lance Dutson, a Republican.
— Get Right Maine (@getrightmaine) January 7, 2016
Phillip Bump, a writer for The Washington Post pointed out that the same evening Paul LePage was speaking, three people were arrested for trafficking heroin in Maine. They were all white, and their names are James, Jody and Donna. Bump also stated, as did LePage, that nearly 95 percent of population in the state of Maine is white.
Fallout from Paul LePage’s comments might spread to New Jersey, as he has endorsed fellow Republican, Gov. Chris Christie, in his bid for president. In the past, Christie has publicly commented on his friendship with LePage and referred to him as an honest guy who speaks the truth. The Democratic party has called on Christie to negate LePage’s comments. Thus far, Christie has not made a statement.
[Photo by Matt Gagnon/Wikimedia Commons]