OLD ORCHARD BEACH — President Trump’s daughter-in-law and dozens of his female supporters gathered for a campaign event at a well-known beach-side restaurant in southern Maine on Wednesday.

Leading chants of “four more years” and “U.S.A.,” Lara Trump, the wife of the president’s middle son, Eric, and other prominent Republicans kicked off a Women for Trump bus tour that stopped at Jimmy the Greek’s restaurant in Old Orchard Beach on Wednesday afternoon.

“Does anybody remember how great it felt on Nov. 8, 2016?” Lara Trump asked the crowd of about 100 people. “Remember the media meltdown when they had to say Donald Trump was our 45th president? Think about how great it will be the second time.”

She also promised that Maine supporters of the president would, “see a lot more Trumps around Maine.”

Jackie Tierney of Old Orchard Beach said she came out to show her support for the president.

“I just think he’s one of us. He’s worked all his life and hasn’t lived off the taxpayers,” Tierney said. “I just think he’s done wonders for this country. And here’s a good one, I’m a registered Democrat and have been all my life, and I’m just enthused about all of this.”

Also arriving with Lara Trump on the pink tour bus were Mercedes Schlapp and Katrina Pierson, senior campaign advisers; Pam Bondi, national co-chair of Women for Trump and a former Florida attorney general; and Demi Kouzounas, chairwoman of the Maine Republican Party.

The tour comes as Trump’s support among female voters, especially white women, continues to sag in national polls. While Trump’s 2016 Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, carried the vote among all women, post election data compiled by the New York Times showed that Trump carried 51 to 55 percent of the vote among white females, with his strongest support coming from female voters who did not hold college degrees.

President Trump supporters await the arrival of Lara Trump, the president’s daughter-in-law, on Wednesday evening in Old Orchard Beach. Derek Davis/Staff Photographer

But some of the most recent polling, including a July 15 poll by Quinnipiac University, suggests female voters, including white women, now far prefer Trump’s Democratic challenger, former Vice President Joe Biden. The recent Quinnipiac poll suggests 59 percent of female voters would pick Biden over Trump while 55 percent of white female voters prefer Biden as well. The gap between Trump and Biden among women is far wider than the gap between the candidates among all voters, where in recent weeks Biden has led the president by between 9 and 15 points.

Women in the gathering made up roughly 50 to 60 percent of the crowd and most wore facial coverings, many bearing Trump campaign insignias. Lara Trump, who didn’t wear a mask outside, put one on before heading into the restaurant for the event, which was closed to the media.

She said wearing a mask was recommended and she did so whenever she was inside and couldn’t social distance, but added, “Our stance is that this is a free country, we, of course, encourage people to wear a mask, but if you don’t think that is something you want to do, obviously that is your own choice.”

Before heading into the restaurant, Trump said she was pleased to be in Maine again after she campaigned here for her father-in-law with her husband in 2016. The couple headlined an event at Ricker Hill Orchards in Turner.

“I can’t wait to talk to people about promises made and promises kept by Donald Trump,” she said. “He kept almost all of his promises that he made in 2016 and a lot of them are in the works currently, if they haven’t already been completed.”

She said she believed the economy would remain a “big focus” for people.

Lara Trump greets supporters at Jimmy the Greek’s restaurant in Old Orchard Beach during a stop on the Women for Trump bus tour. Derek Davis/Staff Photographer Buy this Photo

She also defended Trump’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, echoing talking points the president has made about shutting down travel from China and on the U.S. not experiencing a shortage of life-saving ventilators, needed for some of the hardest hit COVID-19 patients.

“Look, there was never a time that any person in this country that needed a ventilator, went without a ventilator,” Lara Trump said.

Heidi Field, who said she lived locally, was excited to see Lara Trump Thursday.

“I support most of his policies,” Field said. “He’s for the people, he’s the people’s president.”

The Women for Trump stop in Old Orchard Beach came after a Freeport brewery backed out of playing host for the Women for Trump bus tour Tuesday. The brewery’s owners said they were misled about the nature of the visit and unaware it was meant to be a campaign event.

Before entering the restaurant Wednesday, Kouzounas also addressed the crowd briefly, urging them to give their business to the Old Orchard eatery. “We need to support Jimmy the Greek,” she said. “He helped make this happen today.”

A woman tears up a Women for Trump sign in front of Trump supporters as they wait for Lara Trump at Jimmy the Greek’s restaurant in Old Orchard Beach on Wednesday. Derek Davis/Staff Photographer Buy this Photo

Earlier Wednesday, the Maine Democratic Party held a virtual round-table discussion with state party Chairwoman Kathleen Marra, Sen. Cathy Breen, D-Falmouth, and Rep. Lois Reckitt, D-South Portland, to highlight the ways the president has broken his promises to women in the U.S. during his term in office.

Breen detailed myriad areas where Trump had disappointed and let down Maine women, from his opposition to the Affordable Care Act to his poor response in preparing the nation for the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Breen called Trump’s slow response to the virus “a complete and utter dereliction of duty.”

She also said Trump’s nominees to federal courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court, were opponents to reproductive rights, and women in Maine are concerned that could lead to the court overturning a women’s right to reproductive health care, including abortions.

“Before he entered office, Trump repeatedly promised that he would ‘do more for women than anybody else’ and look out for their reproductive health and their personal safety,” Marra said. “Over the course of the last three and a half years, Trump has repeatedly broken that promise. His policies on health care, reproductive rights, workplace issues and sexual assault are a disaster for women.”

After the tour bus left, about a dozen protesters still lined the street across from the restaurant, holding anti-Trump signs, including one that said, “fire the liar.”

Related Headlines


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

Kennebec Journal & Morning Sentinel news

Get news and events from your towns in your inbox every Friday.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.