At Donald Trump’s rally at Merrill Auditorium on Aug. 4, Trump warned about the threat that he believes Somali refugees pose to our state. He discussed the links of Somalis in Minnesota to the Islamic State and grimly painted a picture of fear and divisiveness.

Trump shared the stage with a governor who, at a February town hall meeting in Freeport, reiterated his opposition to providing welfare benefits to asylum seekers, a group he called “the biggest problem in our state.”

The arrival and settlement of individuals from countries from throughout the world have significantly enriched Maine’s history and our culture. In my work profiling farms throughout Maine for the Unique Maine Farms project, I have felt privileged to meet so many hardworking and generous Somalis who are successfully working to farm the land in Maine and provide for their families and community.

The fear-mongering rhetoric and the blatant disregard for the worth of the Somali refugees who have settled in Maine that was evidenced at Merrill Auditorium by Donald Trump is offensive to our rich history of welcoming people from throughout the world.

It is our diversity that constitutes one of the primary components of the greatness of both Maine and America. Trump’s comments on the Somali refugees are not only deeply unsettling but also truly heartbreaking.

Mary Quinn Doyle

West Newfield