TURNER — Donald Trump’s son Eric and daughter-in-law Lara touted the candidate’s promises to create jobs, strengthen economic growth and defend U.S. interests abroad during an hourlong visit Thursday to a Maine apple orchard decked out for fall tourists.

Lara Trump also defended the Republican presidential nominee against criticism of statements he has made about women during the campaign appearance with Gov. Paul LePage at the Ricker Hill Orchard in Turner.

Meanwhile, Trump’s campaign announced Thursday afternoon that the Republican presidential candidate will visit Bangor at 3 p.m. Oct. 15, at the Cross Insurance Center. Trump canceled an appearance in Portland that was originally scheduled for Thursday, citing logistics as he stumped in the western U.S.

Donald Trump’s third-oldest child, Eric, and Lara were on a swing through Maine’s rural, relatively conservative 2nd Congressional District that included stops in nearby Auburn and, later, in Bangor.

With a 15-point lead in the most recent Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram poll conducted by the University of New England Survey Center in mid-September, Trump appears poised to take at least one of Maine’s four Electoral College votes in November. Such a split hasn’t occurred since Maine changed its rules for electoral votes in 1969.

Democratic rival Hillary Clinton had a lead of almost 20 percentage points among 1st District voters in the Press Herald poll.


Maine, one of only two states that allocate electoral votes by congressional district, gives one vote to the winner of each district and two votes to the statewide winner in a presidential race.

The state has only split its electoral votes one other time, but that was in 1828 – under a different system and when the state had nine votes, giving one to Andrew Jackson and eight to John Quincy Adams, according to Paul Mills, a Farmington historian, attorney and author.

Trump and now a pair of his top surrogates have visited the state a total of four times since he announced last year that he was running for president.

Lara Trump remarked about the number of women in the audience of about 100 at Ricker Hill Orchard, and joked that she thought women didn’t vote. She posed for photos with supporters, and told the crowd that the Trumps are just another “normal American family.”

“Now as a member of this family, I can tell you they are very normal and very relatable,” Lara Trump said.

She also said Maine was important to the Trump campaign on a number of levels. “It’s part of the electoral map that may get overlooked by some candidates but we feel very strongly that this is the heart and soul of the country, The people of Maine are representative, as a whole, of the country.”


In a short interview following their speeches, the couple spoke of how tight-knit the Trump family is, not only working together but also spending many vacations together as well. Lara Trump also responded to a several questions about criticism her father-in-law has faced for what critics have called degrading statements he has made about women.

“You just have to look at where that narrative is coming from,” Lara Trump said. “It’s from the Clinton campaign, it’s from the mainstream media. Look at Donald Trump’s track record, look at the women he’s employed over the years, thousands of women. He has more female executives in his company than male executives.”

LePage, who first supported New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie in the race for the White House, has thrown his support to Trump, stumping with the candidate each time he’s visited the state.

LePage told the crowd Thursday it was time to put a businessman in charge of America’s business.

“There’s nothing wrong with having a businessman run something,” LePage said. “He’s the only candidate who has ever run anything legitimately.”

LePage also defended Trump’s efforts to avoid paying income taxes by taking advantage of tax breaks. Trump declared losses of almost $1 billion on his 1995 returns, which would have allowed him to avoid paying any income taxes for as long as 18 years.


“Did he break the law?” LePage asked. “I defy anybody to willingly pay taxes they don’t owe.”

Eric Trump later told reporters that his father did pay federal income taxes, along with taxes on his business properties including real estate taxes and sales taxes. He also criticized Clinton for making herself available to the press.

“We’ve been very in front of the media, we’ve quite frankly been there to answer every question and there have been periods were she has gone more than a year without holding a single press conference and that’s a little bit scary,” Eric Trump said. “My father is an incredibly transparent person, he has been very direct in terms of his message and it’s simple: ‘Put America first again. Let’s make America great again. Let’s restore respect to a country that’s getting ripped off by so many nations around the world.’ ”

The orchard and farm are owned by the family of state Rep. Jeff Timberlake, a Republican and former supporter of Texas Sen. Ted Cruz. Timberlake joined the Trump camp following his nomination in June.

A number of other Republican state lawmakers were also on hand for the event Thursday, including Senate Majority Leader Garrett Mason of Lisbon. He said it should be no surprise that the 2nd Congressional District appeared likely to vote for Trump.

“This is no surprise. We elected Trump before he was Trump, right here,” Mason said, as he introduced LePage to a round of applause from the audience.


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