Maine Gov. Paul LePage said he misspoke when he made controversial comments at a town hall on Wednesday night, but emphasized the remarks weren’t “intended to be [about] race,’’ he said in a combative press conference on Friday.
“My brain was slower than my mouth,’’ he said. “If you want to make it racist, go right ahead and do whatever you want.’’
LePage faced widespread criticism for saying out-of-state drug dealers named “D-Money, Smoothie, Shifty’’ were coming to Maine to sell heroin.
“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’ve got to deal with down the road,’’ he said.
LePage said on Friday he “made a mistake’’ in his reference to “white’’ girls.
“Instead of saying Maine women, I said white women,’’ he said. “I’m not going to apologize to the Maine women for that. Because if you go to Maine, you’ll see that we’re essentially 95 percent white.’’
LePage also said the drug dealers named “D-Money, Smoothie, Shifty’’ were not racial, but were street names taken from a police report.
“I never said anything about white or black on traffickers. You’re reading things into what I didn’t say,’’ 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, [or] Asian.’’
He directed most of his ire at the reporters present who he said were looking for a soundbite and who were not helping take on the issue of drugs in Maine. Cameras and reporters were present at Wednesday’s town hall event, LePage said, and yet they didn’t write about his remarks at the time.
“It was picked up by a blogger who is an adversary and he spent a whole day selling it to you,’’ he said. “Folks, you are in the back pocket of Maine bloggers. Shame on you. Shame, shame, shame. I find that appalling.’’
LePage said that between 10 to 20 words he used could have been better chosen.
“I’m not gonna deny or apologize for that,’’ he said. “That’s who I am. You can take the kid out of the street but not the street out of the kid.’’