Biden's visit likely to consist mostly of private meetings with victims' families

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Nov. 2—LEWISTON — President Biden and first lady Jill Biden will likely have a low-key visit with families of the Oct. 25 mass shooting victims and others during a visit Friday to Lewiston.

Gov. Janet Mills said the president will spend Friday afternoon meeting privately with families and some of the people who helped at the scenes or at the hospital. She said she appreciates Biden's "unwavering support of us in the wake of last week's horrific tragedy."

The governor is scheduled to greet the Bidens in Lewiston shortly before 3 p.m.

"By visiting us in our time of need, the president and first lady are making clear that the entire nation stands with Lewiston and with Maine — and for that I am profoundly grateful," Mills said.

Between 3:45 p.m. and 5 p.m., the president and his wife are scheduled to meet with first responders, nurses and others who responded to the shootings and families and victims. He also will make remarks paying respects to the victims.

"President Biden is no stranger to personal loss and grief," Lewiston Mayor Carl Sheline said. "We are honored to have him visit Lewiston and share in our mourning."

Sen. Peggy Rotundo, a Lewiston Democrat, appreciates the president's decision to come to the city.

"It is an acknowledgement of the horrific tragedy we have suffered and the enormity of the ongoing needs of the community and of the families of the victims," she said.

Flight restrictions are in effect in the area between late morning and early evening Friday, an indication of the planned timetable for Biden's trip. Air Force One will arrive in Brunswick and the president will travel from there to Lewiston.

The White House issued a statement late Wednesday that said the Bidens "will travel to Lewiston, Maine, following the tragic shooting last week in which 18 people were murdered, and many others were injured. The president and first lady will pay respects to the victims of this horrific attack and grieve with families and community members, as well as meet with first responders, nurses, and others on the front lines of the response."

It remains uncertain where those meetings will take place.

Biden is keenly aware of tragedy.

In 1972, his wife, Neilia, died in a car crash in Delaware that also claimed the life of their 1-year-old daughter, Naomi, whom they called Amy. Their two sons, Beau and Hunter, were badly injured but survived.

Beau, the attorney general of Delaware, died in 2015 of brain cancer.

Biden's 2017 memoir, "Promise Me, Dad," talked extensively about Beau and dealing with the heartache of early deaths.

One shooting victim at CMMC remains in critical condition

Read our complete coverage of the Lewiston shootings