Right-Wing Governor LePage Issues Appalling Defense of His Racist Remarks

Human Rights

Maine Gov. Paul LePage is kind of like the Donald Trump of the north, in that he sees no need to place any filters on his blatant racism, or ever to apologize for it, and thinks he can just deny saying what he has actually been recorded saying. If only that newfangled technology wasn't always tripping him up.

Friday morning, LePage denied mentioning race when he said New York City heroin dealers often "impregnate" white women in his state. On Thursday, at one of his Town Hall meetings, in front of a large, mostly friendly crowd and lots of cameras, LePage was discussing his state's heroin problem. “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."

Then he added, "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." He clearly enunciated the word white, leaving little doubt that was what he meant.

His extremely logical denial Friday went like this: “I get a report, and they’re saying his street name ‘D-Money,’ street name ‘Smoothie.’ I don’t know where they’re from. I know where they’re from, I don’t know if they’re white, black, Asian, I don’t know.”

He did add that perhaps his brain was slower than his mouth. "Instead of 'Maine women,' I said 'white women' and I'm not going to apologize to the Maine women for that because if you go to Maine, you’ll see that we’re essentially 95 percent white." 

One can only construe from his denial that he is not aware that when you say "white" and use racially charged nicknames, you are talking about race. According to the Portland Press Herald, LePage's spokesman Peter Steele nevertheless claimed: “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.”

LePage and staff's dissembling came after his comments drew near universal condemnation (although not from Trump). Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton made this statement: “LePage’s racist rants sadly distract from efforts to address one of our nation’s most pressing problems.”

According to the Press Herald, it's far from the first time the governor has made racially insensitive remarks. "In August 2013, he reportedly told a group at a private function in Belgrade that President Obama 'hates white people.' The remark was made at a meet-and-greet with the governor, first lady Ann LePage, and Bennett, who had just been selected as party chairman. Two Republican lawmakers, who were not identified, confirmed the remarks to a reporter."

The governor denied making the remark. See, the magic of denial?

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