Posted 13 days ago
President Donald Trump hosted a crowded indoor political rally Sunday in Nevada, ignoring objections by the governor and others that he might have spread COVID-19 to unknown numbers of people.
"Tonight, President Donald Trump is taking reckless and selfish actions that are putting countless lives in danger here in Nevada," said Gov. Steve Sisolak, a Democrat. "The president appears to have forgotten that this country is still in the middle of a global pandemic."
Trump, who has held outdoor rallies in recent months, said the owner of the building near Las Vegas thought it was "unfair" for the president to be denied permission for indoor events.
"Tell your governor to open up your state," Trump told hundreds of supporters – most of them packed together on a factory floor, many of them not wearing masks given out by the Trump campaign.
Otherwise, the president delivered his standard stump speech, filled with full-throated attacks on opponent Joe Biden and the Democrats over violence in cities, energy development, running mate Kamala Harris, foreign policy, trade, immigration, and the party's "left-wing" agenda.
It was Trump's first indoor rally since a June 20 event in Tulsa, Okla., that preceded a spike in coronavirus cases in that city. Campaign staff members and Secret Service agents tested positive for the virus right before that Tulsa rally.
The Nevada rally – at a manufacturing business in Henderson, near Las Vegas – likely violated state restrictions on large gatherings in the midst of the COVID pandemic.
Henderson officials issued a compliance letter and verbal warning to the event organizers. Kathleen Richards, a spokeswoman for the city of Henderson, said that "gatherings of more than 50 people in a private or public setting is prohibited."
"If the governor’s directives are not followed," she said, "the city may assess a fine of up to $500 per violation as well as suspend or revoke the business license."
Biden aides criticized the rally as a threat to public health.
Holding a mass event indoors reflects "the same toxic attitude that has crippled Trump's incoherent pandemic response, cost over 193,000 Americans their lives, killed millions of jobs, and needlessly torn the nation apart when we need to come together in this moment of crisis," said Biden spokesman Andrew Bates.
In a statement, the Trump campaign said that everyone attending the event received a temperature check, was provided a mask (and encouraged to wear it), and had access to hand sanitizers.
“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," said campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh.
Since the problems in Tulsa, Trump has conducted a series of smaller rallies outdoors at airports.
The indoor rally capped a day that continued a western campaign swing by raising money, attacking Democrats, and soliciting Latino voters in Nevada.
“I have achieved more for Hispanic Americans in 47 months than Joe Biden in 4... (Read more)
Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak says Trump took 'reckless and selfish actions' by holding indoor rallyhttps://t.co/QgLlRsqZuS— KPRS - Hot 103 Jamz (@Hot103Jamz) September 14, 2020
‘Shameful, dangerous and irresponsible’: Nevada governor blasts Trump for indoor rally against state rules https://t.co/D4HFO7w96y— phyllis beal (@BealPhyllis) September 14, 2020
Trump holds indoor rally in defiance of Nevada governor https://t.co/aYEZx37nOs— FOX2now (@FOX2now) September 14, 2020