CREDIT: AP Photo/Michael Dwyer
Maine Gov. Paul LePage, a hard-line supporter of the War on Drugs who once encouraged licensed gun owners to kill drug dealers, is re-upping racist assumptions about who those drug dealers are. On Wednesday, during a town hall in North Berwick, LePage doubled down on his previous insistence that blacks and Hispanics are responsible for bringing drugs into the state and must be stopped.
During the meeting in, LePage was asked a question about his position on out-of-state drug dealers, who he has previously referred to as “ D-Money, Smoothie, Shifty” and accused of impregnating young white girls. In response, LePage revealed that he’s been tracking drug dealers, and most of them are people of color.
“I don’t ask them to come to Maine (to) sell their poison, but they come,” he said. “And I will tell you, that 90 percent-plus of those pictures in my book — and it’s a three-ring binder — are black and Hispanic people from Waterbury, Connecticut, the Bronx and Brooklyn.”
He also assured the town hall attendees that he’s “not a racist” and “[doesn’t] promote it.”
But his record paints a very different picture. In addition to his repeated and overtly racist comments, the governor has always been a staunch proponent of the War on Drugs, which disproportionately targets blacks and Hispanics.
“Load up and get rid of the drug dealers. Because, folks, they’re killing our kids,” he said in January. He also endorsed harsh death sentences for sellers. “What we ought to do is bring the guillotine back,” he jokingly told WVOM, a local radio station.
In the past few years, opioid abuse has increased throughout Maine. And because LePage believes the vast majority of drug dealers are black and Hispanic, that also means they are the ones that should be killed. On the other hand, the governor supports treatment, rather than jail time, for drug users.
Data shows that there are more white drug dealers nationwide, but their black counterparts are the ones who are far more likely to be caught and prosecuted. In Maine, where white people make up 95 percent of the population, drug arrests have skyrocketed. But USA Today investigators found that arrest disparities along racial lines are stark in the Pine Tree State.