Dear Donald Trump,

Seriously? You’re on your way to Portland?

A few nagging questions on this glorious August morning as your Trump Train sputters its way toward this afternoon’s rally at Merrill Auditorium:

First, why Maine?

I know, I know. Maine’s four electoral votes are allocated in such a way that you could conceivably pick up one if you win the popular vote up north in our 2nd Congressional District.

That’s one electoral vote. Out of 270 you need to win the presidency.


And you’re the guy who likes to think big?

Next question. Why Portland?

Portland, as your buddy Gov. Paul LePage will be the first to tell you, is not your kind of town.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s fabulous enough. Honestly, you could walk through the Old Port and your flaming-orange hair really wouldn’t create all that big of a stir – people would assume either that you’re an aging local dandy in dire need of a good stylist, or you’re one of those spray-tanned tourists scurrying back to the cruise ship before the dinner buffet gets cold.

No sir, Mr. Trump, it’s not your looks. It’s your politics. They just don’t fit well here.

You want to keep Muslims out.


For years, Portland has welcomed Muslims in by the thousands, with open arms, from some of the worst hellholes on Earth. And get this, the longer they’re here, the more attractive this little piece of paradise becomes.

You like to divide and conquer.

Portland likes to unite and, when conflict arises, settle it through consensus.

Sure, other parts of Maine think consensus is for communists. But there’s a lot to be said about a place where real, honest debate solves real problems and the rest of the squawking is left to the sea gulls.

You think we’re doomed and that only you can save us.

Thirty or 40 years ago, Portland was just another dying seaport, its waterfront buildings empty and derelict, its future bleak.


Look out the window of your Trump jet as you fly in today. Look at the jewel this city has become. That’s called a community, Mr. Trump. Inspired and built not by one set of hands, but by many.

You specialize in scaring the bejesus out of people.

On Wednesday, this newspaper and various law enforcement agencies received two emails threatening local police, who later arrested a suspect without incident and continue to investigate.

I fully expect you to exploit the hell out of this unsettling story later today. I’m also waiting to hear you embellish it far beyond what is actually known.

But you will offer nothing resembling a constructive way forward. If you leave Maine stewing in your own special blend of Trump Terror, that will be good enough for you.

You don’t like to be challenged.


Portland, on the other hand, has a long, proud history of speaking truth to power.

Look a few blocks up Congress Street to Monument Square starting at 2 p.m. today. There, you’ll find a throng of local folk who said, in a half-page ad in Wednesday’s newspaper, that you are “unfit and unqualified to be President of this great country.”

They promise to bear “silent witness” against you. I suspect others won’t be so polite.

Which brings me to my next and final question: Why Merrill Auditorium?

Typically, your rallies are held inside spacious, open-floor facilities where hecklers don’t stand a chance. The moment they open their mouths, they disappear inside a scrum of security and your chanting supporters. Then, just like that, they’re gone.

Not so with Merrill Auditorium. It features long rows of seats, with precious little maneuvering room in between.


I mention this because I seriously doubt that all of the folks who file into the auditorium today will be there to sing your praises. There will be rabble-rousers.

Unlike most other places, however, your security folks are going to have a heckuva time getting to them, let alone getting them “the hell outta here.”

Brace yourself, Mr. Trump. Brace yourself.

As I ponder all of this, your campaign appears once again on the verge of a full meltdown.

There’s talk of an “intervention” by party leaders, campaign advisers and members of your family sometime this weekend to try and impress upon you that the general election is here and it’s time to focus, focus, focus …

You, meanwhile, continue to spew in all the wrong directions.


Gold Star families, of which Maine has its share, recoiled in horror this week as you beat up, day after day after day, on the poor (and not so helpless) parents of the late, great Capt. Humayun S.M. Khan.

Military veterans – Did you know Maine has one of the highest per-capita veteran populations in the nation? – shook their heads in disgust at your acceptance of another man’s Purple Heart this week with the quip, “I always wanted to get the Purple Heart. This was much easier.”

And as of Tuesday, you henceforth have a problem with crying infants showing up at your rallies. What, too much competition?

Nobody knows for sure what will happen when you touch down here this afternoon. But given the timing of it all, Mr. Trump, we’re all in full daydream.

I close my eyes and see more than a few Gold Star mothers squeezing their way into Merrill Auditorium and then, one after another, standing up and staring you down.

I see a platoon or two of proud Maine veterans showing up in uniform and rising in rock-solid formation with their backs to you – the only salute you’ll ever truly deserve.


I hear crying babies, lots of crying babies, offering their full-throated, spot-on imitations of the man who would be Crybaby in Chief.

But mostly I see a city that sees right through you, a city that didn’t invite you, a city that will bid you good riddance the moment you are gone.

Welcome to Portland, Mr. Trump.

Why are you here?

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