By Jim Clayton –
President Trump held two huge rallies in Nevada this past weekend. One in Reno and one just outside Vegas in Henderson. Saturday night was to a crowd of 25,000 people in an open area arena with thousands more outside and on Sunday night he switched to indoors to a crowd of 64,000 with 78,000 watching on TV at home. Cars lined up for ten miles in the 100-degree heat. Nevada is a purple state which means it’s a battleground state that can go either way and has six electors so Trump needs that state to win.
Rush Limbaugh once said about trump, “He doesn’t play guitar, he doesn’t sing, he doesn’t play drums and doesn’t have a band yet he draws more people than the average rock star.”
In defiance of state regulations, President Donald Trump hosted his first indoor rally since June, telling a packed, nearly mask-less Nevada crowd that the nation was “making the last turn” in defeating the virus.
Eager to project a sense of normalcy, Trump soaked up the raucous cheers inside a warehouse Sunday night. Relatively few in the crowd wore masks, with a clear exception: Those in the stands directly behind Trump, whose images would end up on TV, were mandated to wear face coverings.
Not since a rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma — when the country first emerged from severe lockdown and had poor attendance by Trump campaign standards — has he gathered supporters indoors. “We are not shutting the country again. A shutdown would destroy the lives and dreams of millions of Americans,” said Trump,. “We will very easily defeat the China virus.”
Recognizing that many supporters were uncomfortable to gather in a large group indoors, where the virus spreads more easily, the Trump campaign shifted to holding smaller, outdoor rallies, usually at airplane hangars. But those rallies have grown in size in recent weeks, with little social distancing and few masks. And on Sunday, they returned indoors, in part as a nod to the Las Vegas-area heat. Temperature checks were given to all upon entrance at the industrial site in Henderson and while masks were encouraged, few wore them.
Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak, a Democrat, has limited in-person gatherings indoors and outdoors to 50 people since May. In a statement released just before the rally began, Sisolak said Trump was “taking reckless and selfish actions that are putting countless lives in danger here in Nevada.”
“To put it bluntly: he didn’t have the guts to make tough choices,” Sisolak said of Trump’s handling of the virus, ignoring the constitutional principles of federalism. “He left that to governors and the states. Now he’s decided he doesn’t have to respect our State’s laws. As usual, he doesn’t believe the rules apply to him.”
The city of Henderson informed the media on Sunday that the event as planned was in direct violation of the governor’s COVID-19 emergency directives and that penalties would follow. The Trump campaign pushed back against the restrictions with the president saying he would support those in attendance “if the governor came after you.”
“If you can join tens of thousands of people protesting in the streets, gamble in a casino, or burn down small businesses in riots, you can gather peacefully under the 1st Amendment to hear from the President of the United States,” campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh said.
In an hour-long speech, Trump mused on mandatory prison sentences for flag burning, praised various UFC fighters in attendance, and appeared to endorse extrajudicial killings for those who target police officers. “Any person who kills a police officer should receive the death penalty,” he said to loud cheers from the crowd. Trump unleashed a series of attacks on Biden, labeling him a tired career politician and declaring him “unfit to be president.”
“These are not protestors they are anarchists,” Trump said, “Biden never mentioned law and order. Now his boat is being rocked so he says he’s for law and order. He also was against fracking and now he’s for it. He probably doesn’t even know what fracking is. He’s being told what to say by Bernie and the left then goes back into his basement.”
The crowd answered with a deafening “We love you” chant.
Trump tailored his pitch to Latinos on Sunday, noting their low unemployment rate before COVID-19 reached American shores and affirming his anti-abortion stance. He again hammered home his recent push on law and order, saying that recent violence in American cities endangered Latinos. He was set to hold a similar event in Arizona on Monday.
Trump noted how Biden has an ad running showing him standing by the graves of fallen soldiers and calling them losers and suckers, “Now the gloves are off,” Trump told the crowd, “After he put that ad out about me debunking American soldiers, I can come back and say what I want.”
Trump went on to criticize Biden saying, “Biden wants to appease terrorists, I want to arrest them. Biden would surrender your country.”
Trump criticized Gov. Sisolak saying “You have a governor who is a political hack. Tell him to open up your state.”
Trump told the crowd how they have finished 320 miles of border wall and are doing ten miles a week.
“Biden’s agenda is ‘made in China’ mine is ‘made in the U.S.A. Trump said to a roaring approval and applause from the crowd.
We are changing Washington,” Trump went on saying, “I’ve done more in 47months than Biden has done in 47 years. With Biden at the helm, it would go from the American Dream to the American nightmare.”
Trump has two rallies scheduled for Friday, one in Minnesota and one in Wisconsin while Biden is still campaigning from his basement using teleprompters.
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