When Trump comes to town

Good evening from the BDN Portland office on Congress Street, where today it was all about Trump.

What we’re talking about

Here are the highlights from Trump’s appearance today at Merrill Auditorium:

— Trump’s speech took a dark turn, Mike Shepherd reports:

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump painted a frightening image of Maine’s Somali refugees in a dark speech here on Thursday, saying the U.S. is admitting people from “among the most dangerous places in the world” and that “has to stop.”

The New York billionaire’s remarks underlined his nativist platform that includes calls for halting Muslim immigration from certain countries, a border wall with Mexico and mass deportation of undocumented immigrants.

— That obviously didn’t sit well with immigrants and refugees in Maine.

“I think it’s very un-American to turn people against one another to win a seat,” Abdullahi Ahmed, assistant principal at Deering High School who first came to America as a refugee from Somalia, told me on the phone after watching footage of Trump’s speech.

“It’s a very scary narrative and a lot of us are really fearful that what he’s saying will lead to more trouble for us as a community,” he said.

Pious Ali, a Portland Board of Education member and Muslim from Ghana who settled in Maine, agreed, Jake Bleiberg and Mike reported:

“This country is built based on bringing people from diverse backgrounds, and African immigrants are not any different than people from anywhere else.”

But the message — a localized version of the acceptance speech Trump gave at the Republican National Convention — landed with many of his supporters, including Bert Corrigan of Smithfield, who said he has friends in Lewiston and that crime has skyrocketed there.

Actually, the city’s crime rate fell by more than 23 percent between 2005 and 2014.

— Meanwhile, a guy who sells Trump merchandise told Jake he often has to contend with the anti-Trump demonstrators who demand to know why he, as a black man, would support a candidate that they see as racist.

Here’s the part that jumped out at me:

But MacCaskill said that wearing the Trump hat is just a way of promoting his goods. He’s personally undecided as to who to vote for and has learned to let people’s anger slide off him.

“I think this campaign is dividing us for real. You know, black and white, right and wrong,” he said. “But at the end of the day this is supply and demand.”

— This being a Trump rally, there were protests outside the event, as well as inside. A group of people were escorted out after they “stood up silently during the Republican nominee’s speech and held up pocket copies of the Constitution,” CNN reported.

ICYMI

The Norwegian tourist accused of threatening to kill Portland cops said his emails ‘had the desired effect’ — The Press Herald’s Scott Dolan reports that that statement was revealed in court documents. The defendant, Espen Brungodt, yesterday was arrested for allegedly threatening to kill Portland police with assault rifles and explosives in an email sent to law enforcement and local media. He made his first court appearance today.

The Press Herald also spoke with some of Brungodt’s acquaintances from Norway in a piece published yesterday. Matt Byrne writes: “All three said Brungodt was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, an autism spectrum disorder. Many people with Asperger’s often struggle with social interactions, and often find a social outlet in their interest in specific subjects.”

Portland protester claims mugshots showing women without hijab were ‘public shaming’The Washington Post follows up on allegations that the Cumberland County Jail violated the rights of Muslim women by releasing their mugshots showing them without hijabs.

“Until I investigate it, I don’t know if these are two people who are just trying to cause trouble or if it’s a legitimate complaint,” [Cumberland County Sheriff Kevin] Joyce told The Post. “Most people, if it was an issue, would have been knocking on my door the next day. But once we heard the third complaint, indirectly, I was like, if there’s smoke out there, I want to see if there’s fire.”

Ibrahim Hooper, a national spokesperson for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, called the mugshots humiliating.

“To be shown without a headscarf, it’s almost like being shown naked,” Hooper told The Post. “The implication is that it’s an act of intimidation to humiliate Muslim women who are exercising their right to protest. We hope that’s not the case and we’ll have to see what the results of the investigation are.”

Justices decide North Pond Hermit does not have to pay for road repair — Christopher Knight, better known as the North Pond Hermit, is back in the news after the Maine Supreme Judicial Court decided that he would not have to pay $1,125 to repair a road police damaged when his hideout was discovered in Rome.

Big ideas

I’m almost done writing about Trump — But on a day that he mocked Obama for saying that climate change was the biggest threat to future generations, Darren Fishell has this post about how rising sea levels could “wash away $3.1 billion in Maine property.”

Speaking of global warming — From Brookings: “Despite the combination of record temperatures and declining public doubt regarding the existence of global warming, the issue of climate change received vastly different levels of attention at the recent Republican and Democratic national conventions.”  


Got any interesting story ideas, suggestions or links to share? Email Dan MacLeod at dmacleod@bangordailynews.com, or tweet @dsmacleod.

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Dan MacLeod

About Dan MacLeod

Dan MacLeod is the editor of BDN Portland. He's an Orland native who first moved to Portland in 2002. He's been a journalist since 2008, and previously worked for the New York Post and the Brooklyn Paper.