Republican Governor Paul LePage (R-ME) has at least one friend left in the world after his racist comment about drug dealers who like to “impregnate a young white girl” on the way out of town sparked outrage. The remark was followed by an apology in which LePage admitted he should have said “Maine women,” but thought he had covered himself sufficiently by reciting stereotypical street names for the drug dealers instead of saying “black” out loud.
That friend is Governor and Republican presidential candidate Chris Christie, whom LePage endorsed last year, and whom Christie defended Monday morning on Morning Joe. Christie was impressed by LePage’s apology, and still thinks LePage is a “good man”:
CHRIS CHRISTIE: I, I, listen, I heard Paul’s remarks. And, and, and, and frankly, you know, he’s apologized for them. And so if we’re going to wind up holding, judging everybody in this society–
JOE SCARBOROUGH: Those were pretty–
CHRIS CHRISTIE: –but–
JOE SCARBOROUGH: –offensive remarks–
CHRIS CHRISTIE: Well–
JOE SCARBOROUGH: –were they not?
CHRIS CHRISTIE: But, but, Joe, but here’s the, sure. But here’s the thing. We can’t judge people– by one set of remarks they make. Especially when those people apologize and genuinely apologize afterwards. And so from my perspective, Paul LePage is a good friend of mine.
He’s an outspoken guy. We all know that he shoots from the hip. And when he does that, there are gonna be times when he says things that even he– in retrospect thinks he shouldn’t have said. That, I could tell you this. Paul LePage had a brutally tough upbringing.
Understands the challenges of poverty. Understands the challenges of lack of education. And, and he feels that in his soul. He was tryin’ to help people through the comments he made who are being challenged by drug addiction and have another barrier being put up against him.
I’m sure if you went to Paul today and he were sitting in this chair, he would admit that he would change his words. But it doesn’t change a bit for me my affection for him. My respect for him as a leader and as a person. He’s a good man and he’s apologized. And every one of us, me and everybody else who’s in public life says things at times they wish they could take back.
Christie’s defense of LePage isn’t surprising, given the sort of White Resentment Starkiller Base he’s up against, and the support he’s counting on from New Englanders to remain a factor in this race beyond New Hampshire. It should escape no one’s notice, though, that notwithstanding Donald Trump‘s virtuoso performance as the Yoyo Ma of the dog whistle, Chris Christie hasn’t been too shabby in that orchestra his own self.
This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.