Republican Governor Paul LePage is under fire this week after two different incidents displaying strong racially aggressive sentiments.
On Wednesday, during a town hall in North Berwick, LePage made comments about how people of color, blacks and Hispanics, have brought in drugs from other states. LePage says that he has been tracking these drug dealers, including having a binder full of mugshots of every drug dealer who has been arrested in his home state of Maine. He claims that 90% of the photos were of African Americans or Hispanics.
Then on Thursday LePage left an obscenity-filled voicemail for Rep. Drew Gattine after Gattine criticized his “racially charged” comments. LePage says on the voicemail:
“I want to talk to you. I want you to prove that I’m a racist. I’ve spent my life helping black people and you little son-of-a-bitch, socialist cocksucker. You, I need you to, just freakin’, I want you to record this and make it public because I am after you. Thank you.”
On Friday LePage issues a public statement, explaining his actions:
“I called Gattine and used the worst word I could think of. I apologize for that to the people of Maine, but I make no apology for trying to end the drug epidemic that is ravaging our state. Legislators like Gattine would rather be politically correct and protect ruthless drug dealers than work with me to stop this crisis that is killing five Mainers a week.”
According to LePage, the drug-dealers “are black and Hispanic people from Waterbury, Connecticut, the Bronx and Brooklyn.” 95% of Maine’s population are white people, and according to The American Civil Liberties Union of Maine, people of color and whites tend to deal drugs at very similar rates.
At the press conference on Friday, where LePage made his “apology” to Rep. Gattine, LePage continued his racially aggressive comments, calling people of color ‘the enemy’:
“Look, a bad guy is a bad guy, I don’t care what color it is. When you go to war, if you know the enemy, the enemy dresses in red and you dress in blue, you shoot at red, don’t you? You shoot at the enemy. You try to identify the enemy. And the enemy right now, the overwhelming majority right now coming in are people of color or people of Hispanic origin. I can’t help that. I just can’t help it. Those are the facts.”
Alison Beyea, executive director of the ACLU of Maine said in a statement:
“According to the governor, Maine police are nine times more likely to arrest people of color for selling drugs than white people, even though we know white people are just as likely to commit drug offenses This alarming disparity in arrests raises significant concerns that Maine law enforcement is participating in unconstitutional racial profiling.”
These aren’t the first statements that LePage has come under fire for. Before he was elected he vowed to tell President Obama to “go to hell.” He has told the NAACP to “kiss my butt”, has told the unemployed to “get off the couch and get a job” has claimed asylum seekers bring in “hepatitis C, tuberculosis, AIDS, HIV, the [non-existant] ‘ziki fly,’” and warned about out-of-state men named things like “D-Money, Smoothie, and Shifty” are coming into Maine to sell drugs and impregnate young white girls.