A spokesman for Rep. Bruce Poliquin, R-2nd District, refused to say whether he was among the more than 200 Republican members of Congress who met with Donald Trump in Washington on Thursday.

Trump met with House and Senate Republicans separately as he sought to unify a party still struggling with the idea that the brash, controversial New York billionaire will be their presidential standard-bearer this fall. According to news reports, Trump urged Republican lawmakers to rally behind him for party unity, while bashing the media and Republican critics.

Poliquin, who is likely facing a tough re-election battle this fall, has remained silent on whether he will support Trump despite repeated questions from the media. And on Thursday, Poliquin’s political strategist and campaign adviser refused on several occasions to say whether the congressman was among the House Republicans at the event.

“He has nothing additional to add to the presidential race,” Brent Littlefield said in an email. “His focus has been on House passage of the Senior Safe Act, on calling for implementation of the recent veterans’ commission urging the VA to authorize local doctor visits, and trumpeting the Department of Commerce ruling on Chinese subsidies harming Maine jobs.”

But according to a Washington, D.C.-based reporter, Poliquin was at the scene.

“He was seen entering and exiting the Capitol Hill Club,” Simone Pathe, a political reporter with the Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call, wrote in a post on Twitter.


Littlefield also recycled a statement from Poliquin on the presidential race critical of international trade deals from May, saying the “statement still stands.”

Maine’s Democratic Party was quick to criticize Poliquin.

“Congressman Poliquin is so dedicated to deceiving Mainers that he won’t even admit to being at an event that a reporter caught him leaving,” Maine Democratic Party Chairman Phil Bartlett said. “It’s only the most recent reminder of Poliquin’s sad history of misleading Mainers, dodging questions, and playing both sides.”

Democratic strategists and Poliquin’s opponent in November, Emily Cain, have repeatedly criticized Poliquin for not distancing himself from Trump. But a recent Portland Press Herald poll found Trump narrowly beating Democrat Hillary Clinton, 30 percent to 28 percent, among likely voters in Maine’s 2nd District.

Maine’s other Republican member of Congress, Sen. Susan Collins, also has yet to endorse Trump. A moderate Republican, Collins has strongly criticized Trump for some of his statements about women and Muslims, but has said she was waiting to see whether the presumptive nominee changed his tone before this month’s Republican National Convention in Cleveland.

Collins’ spokeswoman, Annie Clark, said the senator did attend Trump’s meeting with Senate Republicans on Thursday. But Clark did not offer any additional details or comments from Collins about the meeting.


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