Maine’s governor has been caught on tape saying a thing so colossally racist you’d think it was 1960 rather than 2016.
In a town hall meeting in Bridgton, Maine, earlier this week, Gov. Paul LePage was asked what the state is doing to address its crisis of opiate addiction.
LePage’s answer began sensibly enough, with the governor outlining that heroin has become cheaper than Oxycontin. He then began to outline his plan to toughen criminal sanctions on drug traffickers.
That’s when the governor — who once accused President Obama of hating white people — sidestepped into this racist rant: “The traffickers — these aren’t people who take drugs,” he said. “These are guys with names like D-Money, Smoothy, Shifty — these type of guys — that come come from Connecticut and New York. They come up here, they sell their heroin, then they go back home.”
To leave no doubt that he was using coded language for people of color, LePage brought in a dubious secondary claim about the sexual appetites of these drug dealers: “Incidentally,” he said, “half the time they impregnate a young, white girl before they leave.”
“Which is a real sad thing,” he said, “because now we have another thing we have to deal with down the road.”
Doing damage control, a governor’s spokesperson released a written statement to a local reporter. While implausibly spinning that the governor was not talking about race, the spokesperson doubled down on the idea that there is a raft of heroin babies being left behind by drug-dealers:
“The Governor is not making comments about race. Race is irrelevant. 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 coming in to our state.”
LePage added Friday morning: “My brain didn’t catch up to my mouth. Instead of saying ‘Maine women,’ I said ‘white women.'”