President Joe Biden will visit the bowling alley and bar targeted in Maine’s deadliest mass shooting and then meet with the families of victims when he comes to Lewiston on Friday.
The White House has confirmed the Democratic president’s trip after it was previewed by Gov. Janet Mills earlier this week, but it has not released details of the visit except that Biden will meet with families and first responders. Specifics were described on Thursday afternoon by a Maine official who has been briefed but was not authorized to disclose travel plans.
It will be Biden’s second trip to Maine as president. He was across the Androscoggin River in Auburn for a speech focused on economic policy. The circumstances will be far more somber after the Oct. 25 shooting that killed 18 people, injured another 13 and sparked a two-day manhunt that ended when suspect Robert R. Card II of Bowdoin was found dead.
Biden is expected to fly on Air Force One into the Brunswick Executive Airport along with his wife, Jill Biden. The two are expected to take a helicopter to Lewiston in the afternoon.
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Read our full coverage about the mass shooting in Lewiston and the aftermath.
The Maine official said the president and his wife are expected to visit Schemengees Bar and Grille Restaurant on Lincoln Street, where an impromptu memorial has been set up to those killed there. The Maine official said Biden will hold an event open to press at Just-In-Time Recreation on Mollison Way. He will then meet privately with the families of victims.
The visit is expected to focus more on the victims than on policy. Biden issued a statement on the night of the shooting calling for gun control measures including bans on so-called “assault weapons” and high-capacity magazines as well as expanding background check requirements.
These types of visits have become a somber routine for Biden. There have been five mass shootings that have killed 10 or more Americans each during his tenure so far. The Lewiston shooting was the deadliest since last year’s shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas.
Biden visited that city just five days afterward. He spent seven hours there, visiting a memorial, attending a church service and meeting with affected families without giving public remarks.
As Biden left the church, a crowd of roughly 100 people chanted “do something,” the Associated Press reported. Biden answered, “We will,” as he got into his vehicle.