Love trumps hate as Mainers protest candidate’s visit to Portland

Love trumps hate as Mainers protest candidate’s visit to Portland

Chanting “From Kittery to Calais to old Fort Kent, Trump is not our President!”, Mainers packed Congress Square Park in downtown Portland this morning to protest the visit of Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump. Protesters held signs reading “Love always trumps hate,” and spread a message of peace and cooperation just feet away from a growing line of Trump supporters waiting to attend the candidate’s rally at the Westin Hotel.

“Those of you that are standing here now are on the right side of history,” said Pious Ali, a Portland school board member who helped organize the event. “We came together today to show the public that we can make America great not through hatred and xenophobia, but by working together. We can disagree with each other politically and ideologically, but we don’t have to hate each other, and call each other names.”

“The reality is that Donald Trump paints a frightening and exclusionary picture of America where people aren’t safe or welcome. Where women’s access to reproductive health care is thrown by the wayside, and where communities of color are treated with contempt,” said Nicole Clegg of Planned Parenthood Maine Action Fund, who spoke over intermittent outbursts from pro-Trump supporters. “Tearing down people isn’t what’s going to make America great again. What’s going to make america great again is how we lift each other up.”

Lance Dutson, a Republican pundit and founder of the moderate conservative organization Get Right Maine, called on Maine Republicans to reject Donald Trump’s extremism. In his remarks, Dutson harkened back to moderate Republicans like Margaret Chase Smith, who delivered a “declaration of conscience” on the Senate floor against McCarthyism in 1950.

IMG_7114“Time and again Republicans from our state have been the ones to stand up when it appeared the tide of our nation was heading in the wrong direction,” said Dutson. “The forces of hatred, xenophobia, pettiness and racism have manifested in the unfortunate rise in Donald Trump, and in this late hour, the sad reality is that the man who represents these base elements of our society is just steps away from becoming the presidential nominee. Maine Republicans cannot let this happen.”

The campaign visit comes days before the Republican and Democratic caucuses in Maine and on the heels of recent Super Tuesday victories. Trump is expected to deliver remarks this afternoon where he will be joined by Maine Governor Paul LePage, who endorsed Trump last week despite reports that he recently aggressively lobbied other Republican governors to oppose a Trump nomination.

Earlier this year, the Maine Small Business Coalition launched the “Hate Has No Business Here” campaign as a repudiation of Trump and LePage’s xenophobic and racist remarks, encouraging small business owners across Maine to display signs at their stores to show their opposition to hateful  rhetoric from national and local political leaders.

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