Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R) — no stranger to provocative comments — made what many saw as a racially charged claim about the drug problem in his state when asked Wednesday night about his administration’s handling of the issue.
“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,” LePage said to a crowd, The Portland Press Herald reported.
“Incidentally,” he added, “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.”
The comments caused a firestorm a day later, even from fellow Republicans in his state.
Lance Dutson, a Maine Republican political consultant, said LePage’s words were “one of the most offensive statements yet from this governor” in a blog post.
The racially charged remarks add to a portfolio of controversial statements from LePage. In 2013, for instance,he said that then-state Senate Majority Leader Troy Jackson (D) “claims to be for the people, but he’s the first one to give it to the people without providing Vaseline.”
He also made national headlines last year for telling the teenage son of a newspaper cartoonist he’d like to shoot his father, not knowing the teen was of any relation to the cartoonist.
LePage was speaking at a youth-leadership event when Nick Denby, the son of Bangor Daily News cartoonist George Denby, asked the governor what he thought of his father’s cartoons. In response, LePage reportedly joked that he’d like to shoot the cartoonist. George Denby later told The Huffington Post that he didn’t appreciate the joke, particularly in light of the January terror attack on French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.
LePage is a supporter of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) for president. The Maine governor provided the first major public endorsement of Christie, The New York Times reported.
Christie’s campaign hasn’t commented on LePage’s latest statements. The Democratic National Committee, in a statement late Thursday night, called on Christie to renounce the endorsement from LePage.
Here’s video of LePage making the comment Wednesday:
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