President Donald Trump will make an official White House visit to a medical manufacturing plant in Guilford on Friday, his first journey to Maine since taking workplace and a seismic occasion for a city of 1,500 within the state’s least populous and most conservative county.
The president’s journey to Puritan Medical Merchandise, one of many world’s prime makers of the medical swabs utilized in coronavirus testing, comes amid nationwide unrest over police brutality and a worldwide pandemic that has killed greater than 100,00Zero individuals in the USA.
For Trump, who made 5 visits to Maine through the 2016 marketing campaign, the go to additionally provides a window into the sort of politics that made him profitable that 12 months — his disdain for international commerce, his promotion of American manufacturing and his electoral success in additional rural, traditionally Democratic areas, most of which he might want to maintain onto this 12 months if he hopes to remain in workplace.
Trump gained Maine’s 2nd Congressional District and its single electoral vote by 10 factors in 2016, together with his guarantees to convey again manufacturing jobs again resonating in a area that had seen greater than twenty years of mill closures.
However the district, certainly one of 21 that flipped from favoring former President Barack Obama in 2012 to Trump in 2016, is predicted to be one other battleground this 12 months. Trump’s victory was the primary time since 1988 that any of Maine’s electoral votes had gone to a Republican. However now-U.S. Rep. Jared Golden, a Democrat, narrowly beat an incumbent Republican in 2018, the primary time a challenger of both get together had gained the congressional seat in additional than a century.
The Guilford go to is the president’s fourth to a manufacturing unit producing provides to assist struggle the coronavirus, following current journeys to Pennsylvania, Michigan and Arizona — three states that Trump gained in 2016 however are thought-about aggressive in 2020.
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 go to would create unrest. U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, a Republican who denounced Trump in 2016 and has but to point whether or not she’s going to help him this 12 months, will likely be working in Washington relatively than becoming a member of him in Guilford on Friday, in keeping with her workers.
However Trump’s go to has been met with extra enthusiasm by some native politicians on the bottom.
“These staff have labored time beyond regulation, they’ve labored weekends, they’ve gone above and past the decision of obligation,” former state Sen. Doug Thomas, R-Ripley, a Trump supporter whose district included Guilford, mentioned of Puritan’s workforce. “And he’s coming to say ‘thanks’ to these staff.”
Piscataquis County, with a inhabitants of round 17,000, makes for comparatively pleasant territory for Trump. It’s the solely Maine county to have voted Republican in every of the final three presidential elections.
Former Gov. John Baldacci, a Democrat who additionally represented the 2nd District in Congress from 1995 to 2003, mentioned Trump was seemingly making an attempt to “shore up his help” with the Guilford go to.
“He nonetheless has a base, a robust base, however I believe it’s eroded,” Baldacci mentioned, citing the president’s conduct in workplace and the current financial downturn as causes that his help won’t be as sturdy because it was in 2016. An April ballot from the agency Essential Insights put Trump’s statewide approval ranking in Maine at 36 p.c, down barely from earlier in his time period.
Manufacturing employment — the core of Trump’s message in lots of swing counties — ticked up barely in Maine through the first three years of his presidency. However it fell dramatically because the pandemic hit, dropping 17 p.c from the beginning of the 12 months, with simply 44,00Zero jobs in April, the bottom quantity on document.
That makes Puritan Medical Merchandise an financial brilliant spot amid record levels of unemployment statewide. The corporate, which was amongst these compelled to extend manufacturing below the Protection Manufacturing Act, has added staff in Guilford because the outbreak started and is building an additional facility in Pittsfield, set to open in July.
Peter Navarro, a Trump commerce adviser and the administration’s coverage coordinator for the Protection Manufacturing Act, called the Pittsfield jobs a “good bonus” for Maine in a press release launched to CNN in April.
The sturdy financial system was on the middle of Trump’s re-election marketing campaign messaging till only a few months in the past, when the coronavirus-induced financial shock undid years of features within the inventory market and despatched unemployment skyrocketing to ranges not seen because the Nice Despair.
Garrett Murch, a former communications director for the Maine Republican Get together and proprietor of the agency GCM Methods, mentioned he thought the presidential race within the 2nd District would “definitely be nearer” this 12 months in comparison with 2016.
“We’re definitely going to have a broken financial system on Election Day,” Munch mentioned. “I don’t know if individuals are going guilty that on the president or not.”
Thomas, the previous state senator, thinks Trump will win the 2nd District once more come November, saying that, regardless of controversies over tweets, the president has delivered on the problems that matter.
“I’m within the firewood enterprise, and after I rent somebody to chop firewood, there could also be a lot of issues I don’t like about them,” Thomas mentioned. “But when they do a very good job making wooden, I’m pleased. And I believe President Trump has performed a very good job on the issues which can be essential to me.”
— to bangordailynews.com