Maine Gov. Paul LePage on Friday addressed controversy surrounding comments he made about out-of-state drug dealers impregnating “young, white girls,” calling his statements an impromptu “slip-up.”
Mr. LePage, a Republican, held a news conference Friday specifically to address the comments he made Wednesday night during a town hall meeting. The governor has faced flack over the comments, with some critics calling the statement racist.
“I was going impromptu, and my brain didn’t catch up to my mouth,” Mr. LePage said on Friday. “Instead of Maine women, I said white women. I’m not going to apologize to the Maine women for that because if you go to Maine, you will see we are essentially 95 percent white.”
On Wednesday during a town hall meeting in Bridgeton, Maine, Mr. LePage was discussing the state’s heroin problem when he made the comments that have now been criticized by everyone from Hillary Clinton’s campaign to representatives of the local NAACP.
“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,” Mr. LePage said of the out-of-state drug dealers. “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.”
On Friday, Mr. LePage said he didn’t intend to interject race into the state’s drug problems, noting that he never insinuated anything about the race of the drug dealers.
“I never said anything about white or black on traffickers. You’re reading things into what I didn’t say,” Mr. LePage said. “What are they, black? I don’t know who they are. I just read the names. … I know where they’re from, but I don’t know if they’re white, black, Asian.”
Mr. LePage added, “If you want to make it racist, go right ahead and do whatever you want.”