Gov. Paul LePage said Tuesday that "I had to go screaming at the top of my lungs about black dealers" and make other "outrageous comments" to force the Legislature to take the state's drug crisis seriously. LePage's "black dealers" comment contradicts his earlier assertions that the media and his political opponents -- not he -- inserted race into the drug debate by misinterpreting his statement that out-of-state dealers often "impregnate a young white girl" in Maine.
About a month ago, Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R) was asked at a town-hall meeting about drug abuse in the state. The Republican governor focused on heroin, which he said was reaching Maine from out-of-state drug dealers.
"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. "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."
That, of course, sounded pretty racist, but the governor's spokesperson said in a statement to reporters, "The governor is not making comments about race. Race is irrelevant."
In fact, LePage soon after added at a press conference, "I never said anything about white or black traffickers.... What are they, black? I don't know. I just read the names."
As it turns out, that wasn't exactly an accurate reflection of the governor's thoughts on the matter. The Portland Press Herald reported yesterday on LePage elaborating on the subject.
It would appear the "race is irrelevant" talking point is no longer valid.
Postscript: In related news, we've been keeping an eye on whether LePage would deliver a State of the State address to members of Maine's legislature. As it turns out, he decided against it, issuing a written statement to lawmakers instead. It's available online; just for kicks take a look at how many times it uses the word "socialist."