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:
- Clinton has an 80 percent chance of beating Trump, according to FiveThirtyEight, which pegged her chances in Maine at 83 percent. However, this doesn’t factor in standalone results in the more conservative 2nd Congressional District. One of Maine’s four Electoral College votes is up for grabs there and a poll released on Sunday by the Portland Press Herald showed the race effectively tied in the district.
- Boston conservative radio host Howie Carr is getting national attention for his stereotypical imitation of a “war whoop” during an introductory speech for Trump on Wednesday. He did it as a reference to Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Massachusetts, who got attention during her 2012 campaign for an old claim that she was of Native American descent.
- The crowd chanted “VP” while Gov. Paul LePage was introducing Trump on Wednesday. The Trump endorser has said “we’re too alike” for him to be vice president. It’s unclear what he’d add to Trump’s ticket, as a fellow outsider with a penchant for controversial remarks and no Washington credentials. Still, LePage has been a small part of the conversation nationally and made a University of Virginia list of Trump’s potential picks in May. — Michael Shepherd
- 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
- Donald Trump tangles with business leaders before Bangor rally — Ginger Gibson, Reuters
- Maine ethics panel aims to close loophole ‘you could drive a truck through’ — Darren Fishell, BDN
- Holbrook confirmed GOP primary winner in Maine’s 1st District — Michael Shepherd, BDN
- ‘Presumpscot Python’ spotted by police on Westbrook riverbank eating large mammal — Beth Brogan, BDN
- How this Maine university is helping students get through college sober — Jake Bleiberg, BDN
- Is Maine’s seaweed industry facing a ‘Gold Rush’? — Fred Bever, MPBN
Best of Maine’s Craigslist
- Trumpaganda: Someone supplied a Trump soundtrack for his Maine rally. It’s odd and mostly instrumental, with chants of “Trump!” and peppered with lines from his speeches.
- Rigged game of love?: A “love-o-meter” is being given away for free in Brunswick. If two people stand on it and “love each other sufficiently” (I.E. holding hands or kissing), the heart lights up.
- Swipe-crossed lovers: “TINDER SUCKS FOR ROMANCE,” says a woman who was “WAS HAVING A LOVELY TIME” with someone on the dating app, but accidentally deleted the relationship. “Please contact me,” she says, without leaving her name or the name of her flame. — Michael Shepherd