Golden, who is seeking re-election this year in the nation’s second-most rural district — and the only piece of New England where Trump won an Electoral College vote in 2016 — said he does not believe a Trump victory poses “a unique threat to our democracy,” sparking anger from some Democrats and his own voters.

“I reject the premise. Unlike Biden and many others, I refuse to participate in a campaign to scare voters with the idea that Trump will end our democratic system,” wrote Golden, a Marine who served in two wars.

Golden said he does not plan to vote for Trump. He did not comment on whether he voted for Biden or whether the president should withdraw from the race.

In light of Independence Day, Golden said that given the wars and changes the country has endured, “holding out for a Trump victory ignores the strength of our democracy.”

He referred to Jan. 6, 2021, when loyal Trump supporters violently stormed the Capitol, as a “dark day.” But “Americans stood firm,” pointing to judges, police officers, lawmakers and military personnel who “joined the defense of democracy,” he said.

“This election is about the economy, not democracy. And when it comes to our economy, our Congress is far more important than who’s in the White House,” Golden said. “Some of the best work Congress has done in recent years has been done despite the president, not because of him.”

Democrats have increasingly expressed concerns about Biden’s re-election campaign, with growing calls for Biden drops out of race. Massachusetts Gov. Maura Healey and other Democratic governors are meeting with Biden at the White House on Wednesday as Biden tries to rally support.

Golden, however, said he has already accepted that “Trump will be in the White House.”

“Maine’s representatives will have to work with him when it’s in the best interest of Maine people, hold him accountable when it’s not, and work independently no matter what,” he said.

He urged people to ‘ignore the fear-mongering tactics and political pie-in-the-sky ideas of the chattering class.’

“We don’t need party insiders in smoke-filled back rooms to save us. We can defend our democracy without them,” Golden said. “This Independence Day, we must reflect on the history and strength of our great democracy, knowing that no one is strong enough to take it away from us.”

To some, his comments rang hollow.

Austin Theriault, a Republican state lawmaker who was endorsed by Trump in May and who Golden is seeking to defeat this fall, called it a “very false attempt at accountability.”

“Is he endorsing Joe Biden for president or not? Does Golden believe Biden is mentally competent or not?” wrote Theriault, a former NASCAR driver. “He won’t say because he puts politics above Mainers.”

“January 6? NOT THAT bad,” said Igor Bobic, political reporter at HuffPost.

The Maine Democratic Party issued a statement expressing its support for Biden.

“Everything is at stake this November — our health, our jobs, our economy, our freedoms, and our democracy. The only way to defeat Donald Trump and his plans to ban abortion nationwide, including here in Maine, undermine access to affordable health care, and destroy our democracy is to re-elect Joe Biden this November,” the party said.

One person speculated that Golden may be “preparing for a party switch after the election.”

“Democratic leaders have always given Jared Golden a long leash in his red-hued Maine district,” wrote Russell Drew. “But stabbing Joe Biden in the back and saying he’s OK with a Trump win is a transparent act of self-preservation.”


Shannon Larson can be reached at [email protected]. Follow her @shannonlarson98.