New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) refused to distance himself from Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R) after the Republican presidential candidate was called on to renounce his political ally and his “racist” comments.
Speaking during a pre-taped interview for MSNBC’s Morning Joe, Christie stood by LePage, whom he said had sufficiently apologized for a comment last week in which he claimed drug dealers named “D-Money, Smoothie, Shifty” travel to Maine and often “impregnate a young white girl” before leaving.
After host Joe Scarborough called LePage’s comments “racially charged” and “offensive,” Christie asserted that while the statements may have been offensive, LePage shouldn’t have the remarks held against him.
“Here’s the thing, we can’t judge people by one set of remarks they make, especially when those people apologize,” Christie said.
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“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,” added Christie. “We all know that he shoots from the hip, and when he does that there are going to be times when even he in retrospect, thinks he shouldn’t have said.”
The apology touted by Christie took place on Friday when LePage held a press conference and denied the racial connotations of his comments on drugs in Maine. Discussing the alleged drug dealers he named in his original statement, LePage claimed that although he knew where the men were from, he did not know their race.
“If you want to make it racist, go right ahead and do what you want,” LePage said according to Talking Points Memo, going on to flatly deny that his comments on “white women” had anything to do with race.
“Instead of ‘Maine women,’ I said ‘white women’ and I’m not going to apologize to the Maine women for that because if you go to Maine, you’ll see that we’re essentially 95 percent white.”
The two governors have been close allies since Christie campaigned for LePage’s re-election in 2014, a relationship that led LePage to be the first elected official to endorse Christie during the Republican primary.