President Biden speaks at Auburn Manufacturing during a visit to the state in July. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal

President Biden is likely to visit Maine this week.

Gov. Janet Mills, who has been in close contact with the president following the shooting and two-day man hunt, invited the president to visit Lewiston on Friday, according to a person who has knowledge of the planning efforts but is not authorized to speak about them. However, discussions are continuing with the White House and no final plans have been made, the person said.

A spokesperson for the president said the White House could not confirm a visit at this time.

“We are appreciative of the governor of Maine inviting the president to visit. As you know, when the president visits any state anywhere, there’s a lot of logistics that has to come into play. I don’t have anything to share on a particular date,” White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement.

Biden and other presidents often visit communities ravaged by mass shootings. Biden visited Uvalde, Texas, after the school shooting that left 21 dead and Buffalo, New York, after 10 people were shot and killed in a supermarket.

In the immediate aftermath of the Lewiston shooting that left 18 dead and 13 injured Wednesday night, Biden called for universal background checks, bans on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines and other gun safety measures. He also said he and first lady Jill Biden were thinking of those impacted.


“Once again, our nation is in mourning after yet another senseless and tragic mass shooting,” Biden said in a written statement. “Today, Jill and I are praying for the Americans who’ve lost their lives, for those still in critical care, and for the families, survivors, and community members enduring shock and grief.”

A visit to Lewiston would be Biden’s second this year. He visited Auburn in July to tout his economic policies, though he didn’t cross the river to stop in Lewiston. If Biden does come, he will be the first sitting president to visit Lewiston since President George H.W. Bush came to visit schoolchildren in 1991.

A trip to the state now would come under very different circumstances.

Last week’s shooting was the deadliest in the state’s history and in the United States this year. The gunman opened fire at Just-In-Time Recreation and Schemengees Bar & Grille around 7 p.m., sending the city and the state into a mass panic as people searched for information about their loved ones.

A 48-hour manhunt for the suspect, Robert Card, followed, putting Lewiston and nearby communities were under a shelter-in-place order. Card’s body was found Friday evening in Lisbon. He died from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound, police have said.

Since then, communities have come out from lockdown, students have returned to school and life has restarted. But for Lewiston and communities around Maine, many say the healing has just begun.

Press Herald Staff Writer Randy Billings and Sun Journal Staff Writer Steve Collins contributed to this story.

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