One day after a Maine congressional candidate declared his opposition to a $2 trillion coronavirus relief package, President Donald Trump said in Friday tweets that efforts to slow down the bill’s passage are “both dangerous and costly.”

Trump blasted an ally of Auburn hopeful Eric Brakey and called for the Kentucky politician, U.S. Rep. Thomas Massie, to be thrown out of the Republican Party for taking the same position Brakey has.

Brakey said Thursday that his position on the measure meshed with Massie’s and he endorsed the congressman’s effort to force the U.S. House to take a recorded vote on the package rather than allowing it to proceed with a voice vote that wouldn’t require most congressmen to return to Capitol Hill. His spokesman, David Boyer, said Friday there’s nothing wrong with wanting the House to debate and vote on such an important piece of legislation.

The House, though, passed it on a voice vote Friday, brushing aside Massie’s opposition.

One of Brakey’s opponents in Maine’s 2nd District GOP primary — Adrienne Bennett of Bangor — wasted little time highlighting Trump’s position. She sent out a news release headlined “Trump calls for throwing Brakey out of GOP.”

U.S. Rep. Thomas Massie and congressional hopeful Eric Brakey talked last summer in Washington. Brakey posted on his campaign’s Facebook page at the time that Massie is his “favorite congressman.” Brakey For Congress Facebook page

Bennett, Brakey and Dale Crafts of Lisbon are vying for their party’s support in a June 9 primary that will decide which of them gets to take on first-term Democrat Jared Golden in Maine’s Republican-leaning 2nd Congressional District.


Crafts said on Twitter this is “no time for political games and theatrics that put our rights and our economy at risk.”

He said Massie and Brakey “have this one totally wrong. This is about American families and American businesses.”

The controversy may prove “a critical moment in the campaign,” Bennett said during an interview across from Lewiston’s Kennedy Park on Friday. She said this is an important event “and one he’s going to have to answer for.”

“All eyes are on him right now and he’s making absolutely the wrong decision,” she said, choosing to fight a bill Trump wants at a time when so many Mainers desperately need the help the bill will provide.

Brakey told the Sun Journal on Thursday the relief package is a rotten deal for taxpayers and endorsed Massie’s bid to hit the brakes on its passage.

“Simply put,” Boyer said, the bill “is caviar for the big corporations and special interests” while ordinary Americans are “getting bread crumbs.”


On Friday, Trump called Massie “a third-rate Grandstander” who “wants to vote against the new Save Our Workers Bill in Congress. He just wants publicity. He can’t stop it only delay, which is both dangerous and costly.”

The president said workers and small businesses “need money now in order to survive. Virus wasn’t their fault.”

Trump said it was “hell dealing with” the Democrats and he had “had to give up some stupid things in order to get the ‘big picture’ done” with a compromise measure that he insisted is “90% GREAT!”

The president’s tweets show that Brakey “is not with the Republicans or Donald Trump,” said Keith Herrick, a spokesman for Crafts.

Brakey has long touted Massie as a model member of Congress.

In an interview last September he said his own campaign offered “the biggest opportunity for the liberty movements since Thomas Massie got elected to Congress in 2012.”


In that same interview on The Tom Woods Show, Brakey urged voters to “make sure Thomas Massie isn’t so lonely in Washington.”

The president’s take on Massie appeared to have wide support across the political spectrum.

Former U.S. Sen. John Kerry, a Massachusetts Democrat who lost a presidential race in 2004, said on Twitter Friday that Massie “must be quarantined to prevent the spread of his massive stupidity. He’s given new meaning to the term #Masshole. (Finally, something the president and I can agree on!)”

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, a favorite with conservatives, also took issue with Massie.

“Lots in bill ain’t great, but this stupid stunt hurts people who he’s supposed to represent,” Huckabee said on Twitter. “There’s 535 members of Congress? Does Massie think he’s smarter and better than the other 534? He can’t stop bill; only delay & cost millions to have members return. Vote yes or just go home!”

U.S. Rep. Peter King, a New York Republican, said on Twitter he was heading to Washington to vote on the measure “because of one Member of Congress refusing to allow emergency action.”


As a result of Massie’s refusal to allow a voice vote, King said, the “entire Congress must be called back to vote in House,” increasing the risk of members coming down with COVID-19 and possibly delaying the bill.

King called it disgraceful and irresponsible.

Golden said Friday he voted for the package despite its flaws.

He said that “many pigs have come to feed at the trough” and some of the bill’s provisions appear to have been “drafted by K Street lobbyists with bailouts and loopholes you could drive a Mack truck through,” but others are critically needed to help Americans get by.

“Only time will tell whether this behemoth will fully deliver on its economic promises,” the Democrat said. “It won’t fully stop the deepening recession. Only the loosening of the tourniquet will let the blood flow back in, but that isn’t yet an option.”

Golden, a first-term lawmaker from Lewiston, said in a news release that the bill is much-needed emergency relief that will help hospitals stay afloat and provide loans to small businesses so they can meet their payrolls.


“Passage of this emergency bill is just the tip of the iceberg,” he said. “The hard work is still ahead of us, making sure resources are delivered quickly and effectively to the people who need it most will ultimately determine whether our actions are a success or a failure.”

“We shouldn’t be leaving Washington before the ink dries on the paper here,” Golden said. “We should stay to work with the administration, our colleagues across the aisle, and the Senate to see this effort through to success,” he said.

“There’s too much still to be done,” Golden said. “Tomorrow, those shipbuilders, grocery store employees, and health care professionals will get up again and go right back to work. Congress should, too.”

Maine’s senior member of the House, 1st Congressional District Democrat Chellie Pingree, also backed the bill.

She said it provides much-needed relief for Maine families from the economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.

“I’m proud that this legislation prioritizes the health and financial well-being of Mainers and the nation,” she said in a prepared statement. “The resources provided in this bill are critical – but there’s more work to be done to support people through this crisis. I’ll be working with my colleagues to deliver additional help to those who will need it.”

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