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Maine’s controversial Republican governor, Paul LePage, said that out-of-state drug traffickers with names like “D-Money” often “impregnate a young white girl” while visiting the area to sell heroin.
“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, according to the Portland Press Herald. “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.”
Peter Steele, the governor’s spokesman, said in a statement that LePage was “not making comments about race."
“The governor is not making comments about race. Race is irrelevant,” he 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.”
LePage is swiftly coming under fire for the remark. Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton's campaign issued a lengthy statement Thursday night blasting the governor's "racist rants."
“Governor LePage’s comments tonight are not only offensive and hurtful but they try to cover up the very real epidemic of drug abuse facing people in his state and across the country. LePage’s racist rants sadly distract from efforts to address one of our nation’s most pressing problems," said the campaign's Marlon Marshall.
The Clinton team also sought to link LePage to her Republican rivals for presidency.
"Sadly, Governor LePage’s comments aren’t too dissimilar from the divisive, misleading and hateful rhetoric we’re seeing from Republicans across the country these days," Marshall said.
LePage has endorsed GOP candidate Chris Christie and campaigned with him in early primary state New Hampshire, where Christie has emphasized his plans to address addiction.
LePage is no stranger to controversial comments. He has compared the IRS to the Gestapo and suggested that President Barack Obama “go to hell.” He also denied reports that he once told a told a crowd that Obama “hates white people.”
He’s also facing an impeachment threat from some in the state legislature over charges of abuse of power. As of late last year, his approval rating in the state was only at about 32 percent.