Conservative political commentator Michelle Malkin greets supporters Friday at Sabattus Town Hall before giving a speech. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

SABATTUS — Chased from three venues in three Maine cities over the past few days, Michelle Malkin found a welcoming place to speak Friday night in Sabattus. 

When she walked into Sabattus Town Hall just before 7 p.m., Malkin was greeted by thunderous applause by the approximately 200 people who turned out to listen to her. 

“It’s flabbergasting,” Malkin said, “that it took four different venues to find a place for peace-loving patriots to gather.” 

Attendance for the event was so heavy, town officials had to close the doors when they ran out of room in the main hall. 

“What a momentous day,” said Les Gibson, of the Androscoggin County Republican Committee. “Not only for our little town of Sabattus, but for the state of Maine and the nation.” 

Malkin, a journalist, author and conservative blogger, had plenty of passionate words to say about the dangers of open border immigration. She mentioned Lewiston only once, and only in passing as she described problems with crime and economies that she said can arise as the result of liberal immigration policies. 

Malkin said she wanted journalists who have labeled her anti-Muslim or anti-immigration over the past week to understand that nothing she stands for is hateful or racist.

“Quote me,” she said. “It is not racist, it is not anti-immigration, it is not xenophobic for American citizens to stand up for their homes.” 

That, too, was greeted by long and sustained applause. Those who turned out to hear Malkin talk were frustrated — and a little bit baffled — by the public reactions that caused Malkin’s speech to be canceled in Portland, Lewiston and then Auburn over the last couple of days. 

“My father taught me young that you need to listen to people that you don’t agree with,” said Stephen Milks, of Auburn, “because you’re never going to learn anything if you only listen to people you agree with. People can’t seem to agree to disagree, which is why we’re in the basement of a town hall instead of in a public place where they wanted this to be.” 

Marilyn Flynn of Poland is a longtime fan of Malkin and she was stupefied by the public outcry against her Maine appearance. 

“I think it was needless,” Flynn said. “It’s ridiculous. Everyone should be free to speak however much they want to speak. If you don’t like it, don’t go to the event.” 

There were no television news crews in the room when Malkin delivered her speech. There were no protesters outside and no hecklers appeared inside Sabattus Town Hall once Malkin started to speak. 

“I think in the end, it was demonstrative of what peaceful actually is,” said Matt Leonard of Auburn, who helped arrange the venue. “When we step back and act as rational adults, maybe we can start actually listening to each other.” 

The Gendron Franco Center in Lewiston canceled Malkin’s scheduled talk Thursday for reasons they didn’t specify. The talk was then scheduled to take place at Martindale Country Club in Auburn, but they, too, canceled, citing angry messages posted on their Facebook page. 

By that point, the controversy was already days old: Malkin’s talk was originally scheduled for the Portland Sheraton at Sable Oaks in South Portland, hosted by a group of Republican students from the University of Maine. That appearance was canceled early in the week, setting off the mad scramble for a new location. 

Jeremiah Childs, vice president of the University of Maine College Republicans, described a frantic and frustrating experience as organized groups did their best to shut down the event in city after city. 

“The left intended to shut down the State of Maine,” he said. “I think we all proved that they can’t do that. We will not be silenced.” 

Adrienne Bennett, Gov. Paul LePage’s former press secretary and a Republican candidate running to replace Jared Golden, said Malkin’s speech is unpopular because she asks inconvenient questions. 

“Questions about who decides who we’re letting into our country,” Bennett said, as she introduced Malkin.  

Malkin is the daughter of parents who legally immigrated to the U.S. shortly before she was born. Malkin stressed that she is not opposed to immigration, just the open-door immigration policies embraced by many — including some from her own Republican party. 

“Telling the truth about it is why we have to run around looking for a super-secret, undisclosed location,” she said. 

Malkin had strong words for corporations and for the mainstream media she insists is helping to push through various agendas, some of which involve unbridled immigration. Anyone who attempts to speak truth to power, she said, is branded as a conspiracy theorist or hate monger. 

“They’ve weaponized this tactic,” Malkin said, “to a chilling degree.” 

She also took on the concept of assimilation, saying that once her parents immigrated to the U.S., they considered themselves citizens of this country exclusively and that they took pains to adopt its culture. 

“One nation under God,” Malkin said. “I find it vile that to say that somehow makes us the bad people.” 

Malkin spoke for about an hour. When her speech was over, she took questions from the audience and there were many. But there were no hecklers, no protesters and no one with angry words to shout. 

“Nobody showed up,” said Childs, “but red-blooded Americans.” 

In Lewiston, Mayor Mark Cayer commended Malkin for finding a place to deliver her speech even after so many venues had bailed on her. He stopped short, however, of condemning either of the local venues that did so. 

“I absolutely agree Malkin has a right to free speech,” Cayer said. “That right doesn’t dictate who has to listen to it. Both the Franco and Martindale are great partners in making L-A a better place. I’m proud of our community.” 


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