BANGOR — Addressing a raucous crowd of about 4,000 people, Donald Trump took full aim at his Democratic opponent Wednesday, blaming Hillary Clinton for the rise of the Islamic State and a decline in American influence and prosperity.

“She hasn’t done anything about what’s going on,” Trump said to cheers and applause at the Cross Insurance Center in downtown Bangor. He broke little new ground during the nearly 60-minute speech, reiterating his latest talking points on free trade, many of which he made a day earlier in Pennsylvania. Trump, who was introduced by Maine Gov. Paul LePage, also reaffirmed his promise to crack down on illegal immigration and said he would make the U.S. safer by rebuilding the military.

“We’ve got to be tough and we’ve got to be smart,” Trump said repeatedly. “We have more obsolete equipment in our military, we get parts for our jet fighters from the graveyard and from museums, that’s how bad it is.”

The presumptive Republican White House candidate, who held a rally in Portland in March, said he would undo the damage the nation has suffered as a result of poor trade deals and globalization, which he says have reduced America’s respect and stature.

“Every country that we do business with looks at us as, we are the stupid people,” Trump said. “This country is being drained of its jobs and its money because we have stupid people making deals.” Trump said he would install tough trade negotiators and demand America’s trading partners, especially Mexico and Canada, renegotiate trade treaties, especially the North American Free Trade Agreement.

He also repeated several times his promise to build a wall on the U.S. border with Mexico if he becomes president.


While the crowd was overwhelmingly supportive, a dozen protesters managed to briefly disrupt the speech at several points. They were promptly escorted from the arena by security and Bangor police. One saluted Trump supporters who chanted at her by holding both hands up in a double peace sign.

Overall, the tension between protesters and supporters was mild relative to previous Trump events around the nation. He even complimented Maine’s protesters, saying, “You have the nicest protesters.”

He also praised Maine’s natural beauty and the state’s people.

“If things don’t work out for me, I may just come up here and say, ‘The hell with it,’ ” Trump said, mentioning he believed there was available real estate.

In his opening remarks, LePage hit upon the theme of welfare reform that has been a fundamental tenet of his administration, as he extolled Trump and took aim at Clinton and President Obama.

“We have a president and a candidate for president that do not enforce laws, they pick and choose the laws they want to follow,” the Republican governor said. As he spoke, one person in the crowd screamed out, “Hillary for prison!”


LePage said Trump would bring accountability and ensure a prosperous future for the young.

“Make sure he knows before he leaves here that we have picked a winner, and he is going to be our champion,” LePage said, eliciting repeated cheers.

LePage was introduced by conservative radio talk show host Howie Carr, who uttered a “war cry” while discussing Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts. Warren, who campaigned with Clinton this week, has said she is part Native American.


Many Trump supporters waited outside the arena for hours before the 4 p.m. speech, huddling under umbrellas in an intermittent heavy rain, but there were few notable Maine Republicans in the crowd besides Le- Page. Neither Rep. Bruce Poliquin, who represents Maine’s 2nd district, nor Sen. Susan Collins, the state’s senior senator, attended the rally. Also absent Wednesday was Maine Republican Party Chairman Rick Bennett. Neither Collins nor Poliquin has endorsed Trump’s candidacy.

The crowd of supporters did include Linda Bean, a businesswoman and active supporter and funder of conservative political candidates, and Blaine Richardson, a conservative who ran an independent campaign for the 2nd Congressional District seat in 2014 and is now running for the Maine House of Representatives.


The Freeport Flag Ladies also attended, leading the gathering in the Pledge of Allegiance.

After the rally, Jason Savage, a spokesman for the Maine GOP, said Trump’s speech resonated with Maine’s working class, and that Trump’s trip to Bangor was an acknowledgment of his support for the trouble they’ve endured in Maine.

“I think he came here and spoke about the things that voters in this district care about,” Savage said. “He talked about trade, he talked about how Hillary Clinton has hollowed out the middle class in Maine, he talked about drugs and jobs and the things people care about, and he was right on point.”

Among the Trump supporters filtering into the arena was Blake Morey of Surry, clad in a navy blue T-shirt emblazoned with a “Hillary for Prison 2016” logo that mocked the presumptive Democratic candidate for the White House.

Morey supports Trump for a number of reasons.

“He’s against NAFTA, for one,” said Morey, who described himself as an eight-year Navy veteran. “Look at the jobs in this country, and this state.”


Another Trump supporter, Jim Anderson of Cushing, praised Trump’s hard-line position on immigration – but also acknowledged that he had mixed feelings for the Republican contender.

“There are more things that I dislike about him than I care to admit,” Anderson said. “But if it comes down to him and Hillary, it’s a no-brainer.”


“I like what he says on immigration, our bad trade deals, we need get back to some kind of semblance of words too,” said Don Gross, 61, of Warren. “Political correctness is killing us.”

Bill Russell, 72, of Burnham said Trump resonates with the working class. Russell said he knows carpenters and other tradespeople who don’t usually vote, but he thinks this time they will, just to support Trump.

“He’s going to create a whole bunch of new voters and I think that’s what will help (Trump) tremendously,” Russell said.


The crowd included a mix of ages, including a handful of small children, and seemed split fairly evenly between men and women.

Most in the audience were wearing Trump’s trademark trucker’s cap, emblazoned with the words, “Make America Great Again.” Others were wearing red and white Trump T-shirts. One woman wore an American flag draped over her shoulders. Another women sported a shirt with an upside-down American flag on it with words that read, “Save America.”

Marcy Willow of Bar Harbor was ecstatic as she showed off the “Make America Great Again” hat that Trump signed for her immediately after the speech.

She said Trump’s messages on improving the economy, creating jobs and improving the country’s security resonate with her because she is concerned about the state of the country her children are inheriting.

“We should thank our lucky stars that we have Donald Trump to save this country,” Willow said. “He is the only one who can do it. He is not a politician. He is a great-hearted patriot and he is honorable.”

Earlier, as the candidate’s backers flowed into the arena, a group of about 25 mostly young protesters, organized by the progressive organization Maine People’s Alliance, gathered on the sidewalk nearby. They carried signs featuring a blue outline of the state of Maine behind the slogan, “No place for racism.”


One of the organizers of the protest, Jonathan Stanhope, said children are taught to stand up to bullies. And Stanhope said that principle applies to Trump and what he views as the candidate’s racist policies and remarks.

“When those are in public, you have to counter that in some public demonstration of condemnation and that is why we are here together,” Stanhope said. “Trump definitely appeals to racism and there’s a lot of implicit racism in his speeches.”


Some cars honked at the gathering while a few passers-by jeered the group by shouting their support for Trump. Stanhope said the protest would continue until 4 p.m.

Some of those protesters joined a Democratic Party news conference outside the arena, where the speakers included Maine Attorney General Janet Mills.

Mills said Trump and his companies represent the outsourcing of jobs that has hurt manufacturing in Maine and other states. None of the products he touts or wears is made in the United States, she said.


“Donald Trump has nothing in common with the working men and women of Maine and no interest in helping them,” Mills said. “He has lined his pockets with cheap foreign labor at the expense of Maine workers and American workers. The ‘King of Debt,’ so-called, who says wages are too high, will be no help to the people of Maine.”

Asked about the lengthy line of supporters waiting to see Trump, Mills suggested they were coming to a convention center to see an entertainer.

“This is not a game show, this is the presidency and I don’t find it entertaining,” she said.

A poll this month by the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram shows that Trump has an overall favorability rating of just 28 percent in Maine, which is lower than presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s 36 percent.

However, the poll, conducted by the University of New Hampshire Survey Center, shows the two in a virtual tie in the presidential race in Maine’s more rural and northern 2nd Congressional District, where Bangor is located. Among likely voters there, Trump had the support of 37 percent, while Clinton had 36 percent.

Under Maine’s election system, Trump could pick up the electoral vote that represents the 2nd Congressional District if he defeats Clinton there – even if Clinton tops him in the statewide vote.

Trump’s campaign has not responded to questions about the reason for his visit to Bangor. His appearance at the rally followed a noon closed-door fundraising event in Boston. Trump is scheduled to appear in Manchester, New Hampshire, on Thursday and then Denver on Friday.


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