Trump crit­i­cized for in­door rally in Nev.

USA TODAY US Edition - - NEWS - David Jack­son

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 “left­wing” agenda.

It was Trump’s first in­door rally since a June 20 event in Tulsa, Ok­la­homa, 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 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 47 years,” Trump said while crit­i­ciz­ing his Demo­cratic chal­lenger dur­ing a Latino “roundtable” meet­ing at a Ve­gas ho­tel.

Trump also hosted a pair of fundrais­ers in the Las Ve­gas area Sun­day ex­pected to raise about $18 mil­lion.

“The pres­i­dent ap­pears to have for­got­ten that this coun­try is still in the mid­dle of a global pan­demic.”

Ne­vada Gov. Steve Siso­lak


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