During a campaign swing through the area Tuesday, Donald Trump’s eldest son blasted Republican politicians who refuse to back his father.

Trump said that GOP officeholders — including U.S. Sen. Susan Collins and U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin — who don’t support their party’s presidential candidate are “just protecting themselves and the little environment they’ve created” so they can stay on the gravy train.

During a campaign appearance in Auburn, Trump said Republicans who fail to endorse their party’s nominee may talk a good game but when they’re on the floor of Congress, “they fold.”

Trump, a 38-year-old executive in his father’s real estate business, talked to enthusiastic crowds at Howell’s Indoor Range and Gun Shop in Gray before heading to the party headquarters in Auburn and a lunchtime stop at Simones’ Hot Dog Stand in Lewiston.

Gov. Paul LePage joined him at the hot dog stand but, determined to keep to his diet, didn’t sample anything at the eatery he’s been going to for 62 years since it was “a little shack” down the street with just four stools.

Trump, though, gobbled down one wiener. Though it lacked the mustard Trump said he’s used to in New York, he pronounced it “an excellent hot dog,” anyway.

Jim Simones, the Chestnut Street restaurant’s owner, said it has “always attracted the political crowd” from both sides of the aisle who like “to test the water” by talking to customers.

LePage, a prominent backer of Trump, told the White House hopeful’s son that his father “is the right person” to bring the change America needs.

“Losing is not an option,” LePage said.

Trump’s national field coordinator, Matt Mowers, said the Republicans have a good shot at winning the electoral vote at stake in Maine’s 2nd Congressional District, where the race is tight.

The district’s Republican congressman, Poliquin, has ducked many questions for weeks about what he thinks about Trump’s candidacy. He is locked in a tight re-election battle for the seat he won two years ago.

Maine Democratic Party Chairman Phil Bartlett said Trump’s support in Maine is waning “largely due to his reprehensible remarks about women.”

“His son’s visit should not distract from the fact that Trump has glorified sexual violence and repeatedly demeaned women,” Bartlett said in a written statement.

Polls across the country have shown dwindling support for Trump since the release of taped, crude comments made by the candidate in 2005 about molesting women. 

Both Trump and LePage said, however, that they are skeptical about the conventional wisdom that Republicans trail badly in the presidential race.

Trump said he thinks “there’s something really going on here” that isn’t getting picked up by the media or the pollsters. LePage said the polls “are just not right.”

“There’s a hidden movement,” Trump said, consisting in large part of people who have never voted before. He said regular people recognize the “common sense” behind his father’s words.

Michael Chartier of Lewiston went straight from his third-shift job at Bath Iron Works to the gun shop in Gray to hear from Trump.

“We need someone who’s strong and confident on world issues,” said Chartier, an Iraq War veteran. He said Trump will “clean up Washington,” create jobs and “shine a light on the corruption” that permeates Washington.

Adam Copp, owner of the Gray business, said he was thrilled Trump stopped by “the greatest gun shop in Maine.”

Trump, a hunter, said he would love to take advantage of the gun range to shoot a little, but he was worried the press would find a way to twist it against the campaign so he refrained.

He also griped that “these days I haven’t spent nearly enough time in the woods,” hunting and fishing as he would like because he’s so busy with his father’s effort “to save the world.”

He said he wants the “very biased” media to focus on Democratic presidential contender Hillary Clinton’s failings.

Calling her “the most elite of the elites,” Trump said his father is running for selfless reasons “and does not owe anyone anything.”

“That’s the difference between Hillary and Donald,” LePage said. “She takes the money. He earns it.”

The governor said Clinton “has such a criminal enterprise system that she’s been more successful than” former Mafia boss John Gotti. Gotti, he said, “didn’t pay to play” as Clinton does.

Betty McLean of West Bath told LePage he’s “doing a great job” by cracking down on welfare abuse and speaking his mind.

She said she’s pushing for Trump, too, because the country needs him. She said she is “just tired” of the way things are going and wants change.

“I think he can do it,” McLean said. She added that she believes Trump when he says he hasn’t mistreated women.

Trump said people everywhere are “fed up with the lies and false promises” they hear from politicians.

“The one guy who’s actually going to be able to deliver is my father,” Trump said.

The visit by Trump is the second in recent weeks by a Trump son. His brother Eric came to Turner and Auburn in early October.

“I’m the better-looking brother: smarter, more athletic and better in every way,” Trump Jr. said with a grin.

He said he’s been on the campaign trail for his father for months. “I go where I’m told and I talk,” he said. 


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