Rep. Bruce Poliquin of Maine has been trying to build a bridge across the partisan chasm in Washington on behalf of President Trump. He hasn’t had much luck so far.
Trump is angry with conservative Republicans in the rebellious House Freedom Caucus for not supporting the health care overhaul plan, so the White House has started reaching out to moderate Democrats in the hopes of advancing other parts of the president’s legislative agenda.
Poliquin has been among the Trump administration’s liaisons. The second-term Republican representing Maine’s 2nd District, which Trump won in the November election, reached out to at least one Democratic colleague, Rep. Stephen Lynch of Massachusetts, in the hopes of setting up a meeting with White House officials to discuss bipartisan approaches to creating jobs and repairing roads, bridges and other infrastructure.
“I’ve repeatedly said I do not work for the Democrats, the Republicans, any special interest, or party bosses,” Poliquin said in a written statement to the Press Herald on Friday night. “I only work for the people of Maine, and right now the people want a government which works, not partisan bickering.”
The effort was unsuccessful, at least in Rep. Lynch’s case.
The Boston Globe reported Wednesday that Poliquin first approached the South Boston Democrat on the House floor about meeting administration officials a few weeks ago, and that Lynch formally declined Monday.
“I felt like they were trying to divide our party so I declined the invitation,” Lynch said in a statement to the Globe. “My feeling is that the Trump White House has taken a ‘scorched earth’ approach so far. … I am usually someone who looks for middle ground, but Mr. Trump’s opening position, especially as reflected in his budget, has been so extreme that there is no middle ground. It’s a non-starter for me.”
Politico reported Friday that Trump’s efforts have thus far fallen flat, in part because of the president’s polarizing initial agenda and frequent attacks on Democrats, both in speeches and in tweets.
Colin Woodard can be contacted at 791-6317 or at: