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An activist group is planning a protest in Bangor as President Donald Trump arrives in Maine on Friday, telling allies to rally there and not around another presidential event in Guilford due to the town’s small size and fears of conflict with Trump supporters.
The liberal group We Are Maine said in a Thursday post on Facebook that it would peacefully protest at the Wayfair building at 1 p.m. on Friday in Bangor. Trump is scheduled to arrive at nearby Bangor International Airport at 1:50 p.m. before a likely helicopter ride to Guilford.
The president plans to visit Puritan Medical Products, one of the world’s two largest producers of the medical swabs used to test for the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. More than 300 workers are employed at the Guilford facility. He will also attend a discussion in Bangor with commercial fisheries stakeholders.
In their post, We Are Maine encouraged anti-Trump protesters to attend the Bangor rally instead of going to Guilford, because it is small, further traffic could visit could inflate costs to Piscataquis County governments and any rallies risk the spread of the coronavirus into the county, which has had only one confirmed case. The group also said Trump supporters may come to the area and confront protesters.
“We understand that this is not an ideal situation, but we are committed to minimizing the risk of harm to Mainers as a result of these events. Anyone planning to go to the Guilford area to protest needs to be aware of these risks,” the post said.
The Guilford visit is the president’s fourth to a factory producing supplies to help fight the coronavirus, following recent trips to Pennsylvania, Michigan and Arizona — three states that Trump won in 2016 but are considered competitive in 2020.
This will be Trump’s first trip to Maine since his first presidential campaign, and takes place while the continuing pandemic along with the fallout from the police-related death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota, last week have heightened tensions around the country.
Guilford residents had a mixed reaction to the news, but Trump defeated Hillary Clinton 401-222 in the town, helping him capture the one electoral vote that goes to the winner of Maine’s 2nd Congressional District.
His arrival has not been greeted warmly by Maine’s highest-profile politicians, with Gov. Janet Mills, a Democrat, saying she was worried the president’s visit would create unrest. U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, a Republican who denounced Trump in 2016 and has yet to indicate whether she will support him this year, will be working in Washington on Friday, according to her staff.
Watch: Hundreds protest George Floyd’s death outside police department