Maine Governor Paul LePage shows how deep the GOP’s racism problem is.

Speaking at at a town hall meeting on Wednesday, LePage blamed Maine’s burgeoning drug problem on unwholesome elements from other states. What sort of people was he talking about?

“These are guys with the name D-Money, Smoothie, Shifty … these types of guys … they come from Connecticut and New York, they come up here, they sell their heroin, they go back home,” LePage, a Republican, told a large crowd. “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.” 

Responding to criticism of these remarks, a spokesperson for LePage wrote, “The Governor is not making comments about race.” Given the fact that LePage gave his fictional out-of-state miscreants names like “D-Money” and “Smoothie,” and given that he said they were impregnating “young, white” girls—all remarks playing to racist tropes—the denial is absurd.

Maine is one of the whitest states in the union. According the last census, 94 percent of the population is non-Hispanic white. Only 1 percent of the population is African-American. So LePage probably thinks he will suffer little penalty for scapegoating Maine’s drug problem on blacks. But LePage has nicely illustrated how deep-seated the Republican Party’s racism problem is. It goes far beyond Donald Trump, who is a symptom of the problem more than the cause.