LEVANT — A very large crowd greeted President Trump during a campaign stop Sunday in Maine’s 2nd District during which he touted his reopening of a national marine monument to commercial fishing and thanked supporters ahead of the Nov. 3 election.

While some people in the crowd wore masks, most did not, and there was little to no social distancing. The president did not wear a mask, though some members of his staff who were with him did. The event came as Maine reported 61 new cases of the coronavirus Sunday, the largest single-day spike since May.

“I want to thank everyone for being here,” Trump said during his visit to Treworgy Family Orchards in Levant, which is near Bangor. “It’s a terrific state. We freed up 5,000 square miles in the ocean they took away from you.”

Trump spoke briefly to a crowd estimated by the Maine Republican Party to be around 3,000 people in what appeared to be a last-minute campaign stop. The president earlier in the day held a rally in New Hampshire and few details of his visit to Maine were made public ahead of his arrival at Bangor International Airport on Sunday afternoon.

Jon Kenerson, CEO of Treworgy, said the White House reached out to his business Saturday night to see if they would “receive a special guest.”

“We had no idea it would turn into a crowd like this,” Kenerson said. “They said it was going to be small. I guess when you say yes to something like that, you can’t really control what happens next.”

Trump spent less than 30 minutes at the orchard, where he visited with supporters and autographed hats. The crowd cheered “Four more years!” upon his arrival and booed at the arrival of the national press pool.

During brief remarks delivered via megaphone, Trump talked about an executive order he signed in June opening 5,000 square miles of a national marine monument off the southern coast of New England to commercial fishing. The creation of the monument was done outside of the normal regulatory process by former President Barack Obama, though the change is not expected to have much direct impact on Maine’s fishing industry and some environmental groups have challenged the president’s order in a federal lawsuit.

“It’s very important, as you know, for your lobsters and your fish and your fisheries,” Trump told the crowd. “I got rid of tariffs they were charging you in China and the EU, so now you’re free to go out and make money.”

The president’s visit came just nine days before the general election. While several polls have shown Democrat Joe Biden with a double-digit lead over Trump in Maine, the state is one of two that divide their Electoral College votes based on the outcome in each congressional district. In 2016 Trump was the first presidential candidate in state history to force a split vote by winning the 2nd Congressional District.

Vice President Mike Pence also made a recent campaign stop in the 2nd District last week, when he told a crowd at Dysart’s Restaurant and Truck Stop in Hermon that “the road to victory runs through northern Maine.”

Mainers who attended Sunday’s event in Levant expressed appreciation for Trump.

“He’s such a great president and with what he’s done for this country, I feel like this is a good way to honor him,” said Mark Cain, 58, of Hampden. “I’m just really impressed with how many people have shown up. It’s incredible, especially for something that wasn’t really advertised.”

Jennifer Damon, 46, of Farmington, another supporter, said it was inspirational to hear the president speak and she hopes he is re-elected. “I think he has better chances than fresh produce,” said Damon, who wore a “Trump 2020” hat and sweatshirt. “I wholeheartedly believe he will be re-elected.”

Damon, who works in mental health, said one of the main reasons she supports the president is because she has noticed her taxes go down since he took office. “That for me is huge,” she said. “And the lobstermen.”

Constance Mensink, a Bar Harbor resident, had a brief interaction with the president Sunday during which he signed her baseball cap. “He’s like a real normal person,” said Mensink, 44. “We just connected. He made you feel like you’re the only one he’s talking to. You can just see the love he has for America and for the voters.”

Democrats, meanwhile, lambasted the president and his response to the coronavirus pandemic in a Bangor press conference earlier Sunday. At the Democratic event, U.S. Senate candidate Sara Gideon worked to tie her opponent, Republican Sen. Susan Collins, to Trump and attacked Collins for her support of Trump’s judicial nominees.

Collins’ campaign responded in a statement accusing Gideon of neglecting her duties as speaker of the Maine House of Representatives. Collins did not attend the event in Levant and has declined to say several times this election cycle whether she supports Trump.

Kenerson said Treworgy Family Orchards is not taking a political stance and did not intend to host a rally.

“We have done the best we can,” he said. “We couldn’t control who was here. The Secret Service took over and we didn’t have much control over crowds or what happened there. Once we said yes, that was about the last decision we made.”

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