Maine Governor Paul LePage, no stranger to inflammatory and offensive remarks, delivered a doozy Wednesday night. Maine, like many northeastern states, is facing a serious heroin problem. And LePage knows who to blame:
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.
LePage’s spokesman told the Portland Press Herald, “The governor is not making comments about race. Race is irrelevant,” a statement that would be easier to credit if LePage hadn’t specifically stipulated “impregnat[ing] young, white girl[s]” in his statement. And on Friday, when he tried to clarify his remarks, he only dug a deeper hole: “I tried to explain that Maine is essentially all white. I should have said ‘Maine women.’”
There is a long history of white leaders exploiting fear of miscegenation and dilution of white blood, but typically that’s associated with the postbellum South rather than 21st-century Maine.