“I don’t get involved in the presidential election,” Maine Second-District Representative Bruce Poliquin told reporters yesterday, again refusing to answer questions from the media about his support for his party’s nominee for President, or even mention Trump’s name in public.
But that statement isn’t quite accurate. Poliquin is willing to speak about the presidential election and his support for Donald Trump, but only to select audiences.
In May, he told a group of conservative activists at a gathering at the Portland Yacht Club that not only did he think Trump would be elected, but that he looked forward to personally helping a Trump administration implement policy.
Now it seems that’s not the only time Poliquin has backed Trump when speaking to a friendly audience. According to Androscoggin County Republican Committee Vice Chair Jason Greene, Poliquin has sung Trump’s praises on multiple other occasions.
“It is old news that Rep. Poliquin is supporting Trump,” said Greene on Twitter last night. “I’ve heard him say [Trump’s name] dozens of times, and I can’t afford to belong to a yacht club.”
Greene says Poliquin frequently offers “words of support” for Trump at Republican meetings. The former GOP State Committee member also says he disagrees with Poliquin’s public dissembling on the issue.
“I think it’s a mistake that he’s creating the appearance that he’s distancing himself from Trump. Bad strategy.” said Greene.
Poliquin is playing a cynical game here, saying one thing to conservative activists whose support and labor he needs in this election, and presenting another face to the general public. It’s not clear how long his divided house can stand, given the increasing pressure from reporters seeking a straightforward answer to a basic question and the fact that his pro-Trump allies also seem to be catching on.