Maine Gov. Paul LePage is known for being outspoken, and equally outspoken critics are calling him a racist after remarks he made at a town hall meeting on Wednesday. When asked about the state's drug problem, the Republican started talking about out-of-state drug dealers, saying "guys with the name D-Money, Smoothie, Shifty" come to Maine from New York and Connecticut, sell heroin, and leave, the Portland Press Herald reports. "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," he told the crowd.
Critics from both parties denounced LePage's remarks. "This is one of the most blatantly racist statements he's ever made," moderate Maine Republican Lance Dutson tells the AP. "One of the things that's offensive about it is that it's reminiscent of this fearmongering in American history that people would like to think is long gone." On Thursday night, LePage's communications director said LePage's remarks had nothing to do with race. "His heart goes out to these kids because he had a difficult childhood, too," he said in a statement. "We need to stop the drug traffickers from coming into our state." (In 2013, LePage was said to have told a GOP fundraiser that President Obama "hates white people.")