Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R) was accused by a fellow Republican of invoking anti-black stereotypes while discussing heroin sales during a town hall earlier this week, the Portland Press-Herald reported.
“These are guys with the name D-Money, Smoothie, Shifty,” LePage allegedly said on Wednesday. “These types of guys … they come from Connecticut and New York, they come up here, they sell their heroin, they go back home. 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.”
Republican operative Lance Dutson first made the allegation on his own blog, which the newspaper described as part of his efforts to “restore a more moderate brand of Republicanism” in the state.
“Multiple Maine media outlets were at the event and have the quote on tape,” Dutson wrote.
Update, 6:27 p.m. EST: A spokesperson for the governor, Peter Steele, said in a statement that LePage was not referencing race when he made the remarks.
“Race is irrelevant,” Steele said. “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.”
Update, 7:45 p.m. EST: Footage of LePage’s remarks were posted online, and can be seen below.