U.S. Sen. Angus King has a longstanding policy of not commenting on the policies or statements of sitting governors. However, King, a former two-term governor, finally broke his silence on Gov. Paul LePage’s comments last week that drug dealers were coming to Maine to impregnate “young white girls.”

The governor’s comments created a firestorm, putting some elected officials in the uncomfortable position of having to publicly condemn or defend him. King initially avoided commenting on the controversy. But he addressed the issue during a live interview on the Maine Public Broadcasting Network on Tuesday.

Sen. Angus King

Sen. Angus King

“In this case, though, and let me say first, I don’t think Governor LePage is a racist. I believe he is genuinely concerned about Maine – I know he is genuinely concerned about Maine and this issue. But what he said last week was wrong.”

He added:

“It reinforced and validated fears and prejudices by suggesting that the race of the drug dealers is part of this problem. I can tell you, heroin is an equal opportunity employer. It involves farmers all over the world, the international drug cartels, dealers, and victims, and race really doesn’t have anything to do with it. A leader, I think, has a responsibility to be careful of what they say. Words matter, and if you validate and sort-of encourage thoughts that race is an issue here, that is not good. So I think what the Governor said is wrong. The whole thing about racism is that you can’t put people in boxes according to the color of their skin and not the content of their character, as Dr. King said. The Governor, inadvertently or advertently, did that. He injected race into this issue and we need to be united to fight this. We shouldn’t be diverted by comments like that.”

 


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