Trump Targets Somalis During Maine Forum, Faces Backlash from Community
Republican Donald Trump has a new target when it comes to immigrants: Somalis.
Trump told an audience Thursday at packed Merrill Auditorium in Portland 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. He also blamed the 2013 Boston Marathons bombing on lax immigration policies.
He was interrupted several times by protesters.
Outside, Portland teacher Laura Nichols said she fears for her Somali students because of the current political atmosphere. As for Trump, she said he's "unstable."
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.
Friday afternoon, a protest rally and press conference was held on the steps of Portland's city hall, attended by over 200 people, including Portland Mayor Ethan Strimling. Abdifatah Ahmed, president of the New Mainers Alliance, said Somalis have fled terrorism and war for new lives in the U.S, and have fled the very sorts of terror Trump claims they may start. He said many Somalis are new U.S. citizens and will vote this November.
Mayor Strimling addressed the crowd in both English and Arabic while carrying a pocket copy of the Constitution. Members of The Maine People's Alliance were escorted out of Trump's Thursday night rally after they held up copies of the Constitution as a silent protest.