LEWISTON – The showdown between President Donald Trump and detractors who want to impeach him came to Lisbon Street on Tuesday as both sides gathered in front of U.S. Rep. Jared Golden’s office to try to sway the first-term Democrat to take their side.

About 75 pro-Trump demonstrators gathered for the Stop the Madness rally — holding signs and chanting “We love Trump!” — while about 15 gathered on the other side of the street in favor of impeaching the president.

Linda Porter of Herman, who came with her grandson, said she showed up “to support Trump, the man we believe in.”

She said the effort to impeach the president “is just a Democratic game, a stall tactic wasting time.”

Demi Kouzounas, chair of the Maine Republican Party, said Mainers “feel like they’re being silenced” as the drama plays out on Capitol Hill — and they’re tired of it, she added.

Kouzounas said that Democrats should “wait for us to make a decision” in 13 months about who should sit in the White House rather than trying to force Trump out of office early over a manufactured scandal about the president’s effort to get Ukraine to investigate political opponents.

Others on both sides took a shriller approach, screaming at one another.

When Republicans chanted “four more years,” their counterparts across the road chimed in with “in jail” responses.

“Stand up for America, you fools,” shrieked Jim Hewey of Gray, whose bellows sometimes managed to drown out GOP speakers using a megaphone.

“I’m an equal opportunity un-employer,” said Eric Bleicken of Portland, who loves President Donald Trump. Steve Collins/Sun Journal

Hewey said that Trump “is very un-American. He’s the worst president we’ve ever had.”

Eric Bleicken of Portland, though, showed up to rally for Trump.

“I love this president,” he said. “This guy is a great president,” a genius “who thrives on conflict.”

Holding up a bumper sticker that told Maine’s entire congressional delegation, “You’re Fired,” Bleicken declared himself “an equal opportunity un-employer.”

The rally is part of a national effort by Republicans to pressure vulnerable Democrats such as Golden to refrain from supporting what they call “Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer’s impeachment witch hunt.”

Jason Savage, executive director of the state GOP, said the idea is to “draw attention to the fact that Jared Golden should be working to improve the lives of the people of the 2nd District” rather than “running around talking about impeachment.”

Golden is one of a handful of Democrats in the U.S. House who hasn’t said he supports the impeachment inquiry that Pelosi, the speaker, launched recently after revelations about Trump’s actions in Ukraine.

Savage said that instead of talking about the possibility of impeachment, Golden should simply say there’s nothing to it.

“Now it’s Ukraine, Ukraine, Ukraine,” Kouzounas said, “and we are sick and tired of our voices not being heard.”

Former state Rep. Lisa Villa of Harrison, who backed Bernie Sanders in 2016, said she gave up on the Democrats when they “literally stole the primary from him” when Hillary Clinton won more delegates in the party’s primaries three years ago.

“The greatest injustice of all,” she said, is that Clinton and the party colluded with the media to lie to the millions of Sanders’ backers that year.

When she voted in the 2016 general election, Villa said, she picked Trump because he showed “honesty and transparency” and fought against injustice.

Now, Villa said, Democrats are trying to do the same thing to Trump that they did to Sanders.

“I find it reprehensible and undemocratic,” she said.

Republican 2nd District congressional hopeful Eric Brakey, a former state senator from Auburn, said it is “incredibly undemocratic for this witch hunt to continue” after a two-year probe by Robert Mueller the candidate called “a complete charade.”

He said that Golden ought to support Trump’s effort to “get to the bottom” of the foreign interference in the 2016 election.

Though the U.S. government’s intelligence agencies have said publicly that Russia interfered in the race to help Trump, Brakey insisted that “many countries were involved in trying to support the campaign of Hillary Clinton.”

A bipartisan Senate Intelligence Committee report issued Tuesday — with the backing of U.S. Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King of Maine — endorsed those agencies’ findings and declared Russia “sought to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election by harming Hillary Clinton’s chances of success and supporting Donald Trump at the direction of the Kremlin.”

Golden’s sprawling, rural district voted for Trump by a 10-point margin in 2016, one reason the GOP thinks they have a shot at unseating him next year.

Savage said Golden is “trying to have it both ways” by refusing to endorse the impeachment inquiry while mentioning it favorably.

Kouzounas said she understands that Golden isn’t in an easy position.

“He’s in Trump country,” she said, he “just squeaked by” in 2018 to capture the seat.

Now, Kouzounas said, Golden must decide whether he will “listen to Mainers” or listen to activists like U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and leaders such as Pelosi and U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader in the Senate.

Golden, who was talking to constituents in Waldo County on Tuesday, could not be reached for comment. He has said he has “grave concerns” about Trump’s dealings with Ukraine.

This story will be updated.

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