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Trump to head to rural Maine as protests continue nationwide

Posted at 7:47 AM, Jun 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-05 09:51:35-04

Maine Governor Janet Mills asked President Trump to "check his inflammatory rhetoric at the door" during his visit to the state on Friday, which comes amid ongoing nationwide protests after the death of George Floyd. Mr. Trump is visiting a facility in rural Maine that makes specialized swabs for coronavirus testing.

"As the individual responsible for the health and safety of Maine people, including those who support and do not support the president, I again ask the president to check his inflammatory rhetoric at the door and abandon the divisive language that sows seeds of distrust among our people," Mills, a Democrat, said in a statement on Thursday. "I hope he will heed this call and appeal to the best in all people and lead us with courage and compassion through this difficult time."

Mills also urged Maine citizens to exercise safety if they chose to demonstrate.

"I also urge all Maine people who are gathering tomorrow – whether to rally to support or to protest opposition – to exercise that fundamental right with respect and do so safely amid this deadly pandemic," Mills said in her statement.

The president announced early Friday that he will hold a news conference on "the Jobs Numbers" at 10 a.m., before he is scheduled to leave for Maine.

Unemployment around the U.S. declined slightly in May, falling to 13.3% as the economy showed signs of recovering from the impact of nationwide shutdowns caused by the coronavirus.

Democrats and some Republicans have criticized Mr. Trump for his response to nationwide protests. He has called for state and local governments to "dominate" the protesters and threatened on Monday to deploy military troops to jurisdictions that fail to quell protests.

Mr. Trump also drew criticism for his visit to a damaged historic church across from the White House for a photo opportunity on Monday, after law enforcement officers forcefully cleared peaceful protesters from the area.

Mr. Trump has lashed out as his critics, repeatedly calling himself the president of "law and order." He slammed Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski on Thursday after she said she wasn't sure if she would support the president in 2020 and that she agreed with former Defense Secretary James Mattis' scathing criticisms of the president.

Mr. Trump said he'll endorse anyone with a "pulse" who runs against Murkowski when she's up for reelection in 2022.