Maine Gov. Janet Mills has warned that President Donald Trump's upcoming visit to the state "might create unrest" amid the nationwide protests in response to the killing of George Floyd. The president is scheduled to visit the Puritan Medical Products facility, where cotton swabs for COVID-19 tests are made, in Guilford, Maine, on Friday, according to the Portland Harold Press. Despite Mills' warnings, the White House confirmed that Trump's visit will continue as planned.
On Monday morning, Mills had warned the president during a phone call with state leaders that she was "very concerned that your presence may cause security problems for our state." Trump responded by stating that "we'll look into that" and reminding the governor that "we have a tremendous crowd of people showing up as you know, and I think most of them are very favorable. They like their president." During that same call, the president told the nation's governors that they "have to dominate" protesters and "arrest and try people" or else they will look "weak." Responding to those remarks, Mills, speaking during a Monday evening news conference, said that "both the tone and the substance of the president's comments were troubling."
Speaking outside the Blaine House during the press conference, Mills again reiterated her fear that the president's visit could cause more harm than good, stating that the country needed leadership, "not more hatred and more division, not more animosity and more distrust." She asked that when the president arrives for his visit, he "check the rhetoric at the door and abandon the divisive language that sows the seeds of distrust among our people" and instead "appeal to the best of all people and that you lead us with passion and courage and compassion during this difficult time."
Several other political leaders seemed to agree with Mills. Rep. Chellie Pingree, a 1st District Democrat, said that Mills "has good reason to worry" that the president's rhetoric "could spark unrest in Maine." He added that the president's "inflammatory words have had deadly and divisive consequences."
Addressing Mills' comments, Trump said that "she tried to talk me out of it," but he thinks "she probably talked me into it. She just doesn't understand me very well. But that's OK." The president's Friday visit will mark the first time he has visited Maine as president and will follow similar visits to factories in Pennsylvania, Arizona and Michigan.