AUGUSTA, Maine – Maine’s Republican governor apologized Friday for his remark about out-of-state drug dealers impregnating “young white” girls, saying he didn’t mean to inject race into discussion of the state’s heroin epidemic.
Gov. Paul LePage had described the drug dealers as “guys with the name D-Money, Smoothie, Shifty” and added “half the time they impregnate a young white girl before they leave.”
“My brain didn’t catch up to my mouth. Instead of ‘Maine women,’ I said ‘white women,”‘ LePage said, noting that Maine is among the nation’s whitest states.
The governor’s comment Wednesday evening drew criticism from Maine and beyond. LePage is white. The president of the local chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Michael Alpert, called the remarks “sad” and “foolish.”
The governor’s spokesman said Thursday that he wasn’t making a comment about race.
LePage’s comments at times get him into trouble. He said on the campaign trail that he’d tell President Barack Obama to “go to hell,” and soon after he was elected to his first term, he told an NAACP chapter to “kiss my butt.”
LePage said Friday that he’s passionate about addressing the state’s drug problem. Maine was on pace for a record year for drug overdose deaths in 2015; the final figures have not yet been tallied.
“I made a mistake and I’m not perfect, but I will not stop correcting myself and bringing the issue at hand: drugs, drugs and more drugs. Beatings, beatings and more beatings. We have people dying. We have families being destroyed,” he said.