PORTLAND, Maine (CBS/AP) — Republican Donald Trump paid another visit to Maine hoping to shift the focus back to his message.
Trump blasted US immigration policies at a town hall-style meeting Thursday afternoon at Merrill Auditorium in Portland saying it made it possible for the Boston Marathon bombers to get into the country.
Trump also said that Maine is a “major destination” for Somali refugees and that they’re coming from some of the “most dangerous places.” He said the nation’s acceptance of refugees is a problem that must stop.
Two different anti-Trump protests took place outside the auditorium. One group of protesters argued that Trump’s recent comments about a Purple Heart he was given and his public feud with Muslim American Gold Star parents are proof he is unfit to be Commander in Chief.
“After the recent comments against the Khan family, people are really waking up to the fact that Trump is a loose cannon,” said Andrew Francis, who works with Maine People’s Alliance.
But most Trump supporters who were filing into the rally didn’t see it that way.
“I try not to pay attention to the sensationalist stuff,” one Trump supporter said.
Some military veterans among them, however, acknowledged the sting.
“He’s not a politician, I think it’s a learning curve, he’s a smart guy, he shouldn’t have done that,” veteran John Bassett said. “That was the most disappointing comment he’s made for me thus far.”
Other supporters say there’s way too much focus on Trump’s hyperactive mouth than on the issues he’s pressing.
“One of the reasons why he is such a self-made multi-billionaire is he knows how to surround himself with extremely smart people,” said veteran Ken Jacobs.
That very point was enough for Jason Riddle, a gay Trump supporter.
“I’m sick of the politicians that have been in charge, it’s time for an outsider,” Riddle said.
Another protester staked outside the rally said, “neither one of these candidates represent my interests at all.”
Trump previously held rallies in Portland and Bangor this year.
The presidential candidate hopes to win at least one, and maybe more, electoral votes in Maine, one of only two states to divide the votes. Maine awards one vote to the winner of each congressional district; the other two votes go to the winner of the statewide vote. Maine has not voted Republican for a presidential candidate since 1988.
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