Dueling Trump, Obama speeches show just how different they are

Good morning from my couch in Gardiner, where I’m recovering after the much-anticipated day of Donald Trump in Bangor.

Here are our reports from inside the presumptive Republican presidential nominee’s rally and outside, where there were confrontations between supporters and protesters and a Trump-unrelated fight between passers-by near the Paul Bunyan statue.

A few demonstrators were removed from Trump’s rally to cheers from his supporters, but what was most striking about the New York City billionaire’s speech was his message and how he would be a sea change from President Barack Obama if he can beat Democrat Hillary Clinton in November.

The same day that Trump appeared in Bangor, the Democratic president was speaking to the Canadian Parliament.

Setting the tone for Trump’s address was an adviser, Stephen Miller, who laid out the candidate’s policy of “Americanism” — which, as later defined by the candidate, means a hard stance on global trade.

He said he’d try to renegotiate the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico and pull the U.S. out of the Trans Pacific Partnership, a deal with Pacific rim nations. This is a popular stance in Maine, which may have lost hundreds of manufacturing jobs under NAFTA and is reeling from major mill closures.

But it bucks the usual Republican line and has been criticized by the conservative U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which Trump ripped as controlled by “special interests” who “don’t care” about Mainers.

On this issue, the chamber aligns with Obama, who addressed anxiety around trade deals head-on in Canada, calling it “tempting” to think that “if we draw a line around our borders that it will give us more control,” but that “we can’t seal ourselves off from the rest of the world” in the modern economy.

“And so, for those of us who truly believe that our economies have to work for everybody, the answer is not to try and pull back from our interconnected world,” he said. “It is rather to engage with the rest of the world, to shape the rules so they’re good for our workers and good for our businesses.”

Trump’s and Obama’s differences are myriad, but their visions of America’s place in the world may be the most stark.

I discussed Trump’s visit with the CBC’s Hance Colburne on Thursday. You should be able to listen to that interview here today. — Michael Shepherd

Trump miscellany: The Republican’s chances, war whoops and LePage

A few tidbits lost in the chaos of Trump’s visit:

Quick hits

  • The Maine Ethics Commission won’t investigate the finances of an unsuccessful ballot question committee supporting a referendum to allow a new casino in southern Maine. The request came from an Oregon-based firm that claimed that it was not paid about $119,000 for signature-gathering efforts. But commissioners staff unanimously backed their staff’s recommendation of not pursuing a probe on Wednesday. — Darren Fishell
  • LePage and Attorney General Janet Mills — usually foes — will appear together at a news conference on Thursday. They’ll release a report from a state panel on preventing domestic violence homicides. The Republican governor and Democratic attorney general have been pugnacious foils to each other, making this joint appearance a must-see event. — Michael Shepherd

Reading list

Best of Maine’s Craigslist

Michael Shepherd

About Michael Shepherd

Michael Shepherd joined the Bangor Daily News in 2015 after covering state, federal and local issues for the Kennebec Journal for three years. He's a Hallowell native who now lives in Gardiner. He graduated from the University of Maine in 2012 and is a graduate student at the University of Southern Maine's Muskie School of Public Service.