Maine Governor Paul LePage criticised for ‘racist’ remarks

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Source: BBC

The governor of Maine has said that people of colour were enemies of his state, and appeared to suggest they should be shot.

Speaking about Maine’s effort to combat drug crime, Paul LePage said that “the enemy right now… are people of colour or people of Hispanic origin”.

“When you go to war… and the enemy dresses in red and you dress in blue, then you shoot at red,” he said.

Leading Democrats have urged him to resign.

Mr LePage made the comments while seeking to clarify remarks he made earlier in the week which were criticised as racist.

The press conference capped a controversial 72 hours for the Republican governor.

WEDNESDAY

Mr LePage was asked about a statement he made in January, in which he blamed the state’s heroin problem on “guys by the name D-Money, Smoothie, Shifty” who “come from Connecticut and New York”.

“They come up here, they sell their heroin, then they go back home. Incidentally, half the time they impregnate a young, white girl before they leave,” he said.

Speaking on Wednesday, he denied it was racist, but said that since January he had been putting together a binder cataloguing drug arrests in the state, and that “90-plus per cent of those pictures in my book, and it’s a three-ringed binder, are black and Hispanic people”.

Asked by reporters to provide the binder, Mr LePage replied: “Let me tell you something: Black people come up the highway and they kill Mainers. You ought to look into that.”

He then stormed off, telling the reporters: “You make me so sick.”

Maine daily newspaper the Portland Press Herald has reportedly filed a Freedom of Information request for the governor’s binder.

THURSDAY

A reporter appeared to suggest to Mr LePage that Democratic state representative Drew Gattine had called him a racist.

Mr LePage called Mr Gattine and, when he was unable to reach him, left him an abusive, expletive-laden voice message.

The recording was released by the Portland Press Herald.

He later invited reporters from the Press Herald and WMTW TV channel to an interview to explain the voice message, and told them he wished he could shoot Mr Gattine in a duel.

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