Donald Trump Jr. said Maine’s swing 2nd Congressional District could “decide the presidency” during a Thursday campaign stop at an Orrington church moved from a local business after the state cited concerns about crowd size during the coronavirus pandemic.
The comment was a nod to the efforts both President Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden have taken to court the district’s voters leading up to Election Day. Biden and Trump have polled closely so far in the large, rural district that Trump carried by 10 points in 2016. Biden has a 7-percentage-point lead in national polls and a slighter edge in key battlegrounds.
The rainy event drew a few hundreds people and was scheduled to take place at the Greenway Equipment Sales in Hermon. It was moved to the Calvary Church in Orrington after the state’s health department contacted the business owners about crowd sizes that would violate state outdoor gathering limits of 100 people with masks if social distancing is followed.
The outdoor event violated gathering limits, though the Trump campaign took more precautions on Thursday than it has at previous events that have seen packed crowds, including the president’s Sunday stop at a Levant orchard that expressed regret for not following guidelines.
Clockwise from left: Supporters dance to YMCA before the arrival of Donald Trump Jr. at Calvary Chapel in Orrington where he held a campaign rally Thursday evening; Jeanette Wheeler of Waldoboro dances before the arrival of Donald Trump Jr.; Despite the rain and cold temperature, hundreds of supporters went out to Orrington. Credit: Linda Coan OKresik / BDN
At the rally featuring the president’s eldest son, a distanced set of 250 chairs were set up and temperature checks were required, organizers said, but there was a standing room option and many did not wear masks. Organizers said 500 people attended.
Donald Trump Jr. made no reference to the location change, focusing much of his 20-minute speech on the Biden family. He also touched on the conversation surrounding the confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S. Supreme Court.
He speculated that a Biden win would result in more judges being added to the nine-member court. Many Democrats have floated the idea this year as Trump closed in on confirming his third justice to the court in less than four years on top of a record-breaking number of lower-court justices. Biden has been leery of that idea, but he has not ruled it out.
Trump Jr. said a Biden presidency would mean more “activist” judges.
“You can kiss the notion of the Constitution goodbye,” he said.
Clockwise from left: Donald Trump Jr. held a campaign rally at Calvary Chapel in Orrington Thursday evening; About 500 people showed up for the rally; Donald Trump Jr. said Maine’s swing 2nd Congressional District could “decide the presidency”; A supporter waves to Donald Trump Jr. as he leaves the stage. Credit: Linda Coan O’Kresik/ BDN
The Trump campaign has boasted of large turnout at its events, with a Maine Republican Party news release on Wednesday saying people have “shown up in droves.” The Biden campaign has done nominee small, outdoor, usually invite-only events with high mask use.
Democrats slammed the visit ahead of time, with Maine Democratic Party Chair Kathleen Marra hitting Trump for his management of the coronavirus pandemic and other areas by saying he has “abdicated his responsibility to lead.”