President Trump held an indoor rally in Henderson, Nevada, outside Las Vegas, on Sunday night, packing in significantly more than 50 people in clear defiance of state regulations based on COVID-19 recommendations from his own administration. The attendees were seated shoulder-to-shoulder, though the campaign said it required temperature checks at the door. This was Trump’s first indoor rally since an ill-fated June event in Tulsa, Oklahoma, that local officials cited as a prime contributor to a spike in coronavirus infections.
“Eager to project a sense of normalcy in imagery, Trump soaked up the raucous cheers inside a warehouse,” The Associated Press reports. “Relatively few in the crowd wore masks, with one clear exception: Those in the stands directly behind Trump, whose images would end up on TV, were mandated to wear face coverings.”
This was Trump’s second consecutive rally in Nevada, after an outdoor event outside Reno on Saturday night. Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) slammed Trump’s “reckless and selfish” decision to flout state rules, saying he is “putting countless lives in danger” for “his own gain” and tying it to Trump’s hands-off approach to containing the coronavirus.
To put it bluntly: he didn’t have the guts to make tough choices — 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.
— Governor Sisolak (@GovSisolak) September 14, 2020
Trump campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh compared the indoor, largely mask-less rally to outdoor protests against police violence and racism, and more aptly, to the state’s casinos, which Sisolak allowed to reopen in June with COVID-19 safety precautions.
The City of Henderson, which had given the event’s organizers verbal and written warnings that the rally would be in violation of state orders, said in a statement it “may assess a fine of up to $500 per violation of the governor’s directives as well as suspend or revoke the business license” of Xtreme Manufacturing, where the rally was held. Xtreme, owned by Don Ahern, says on its website it has “restricted meetings and gatherings to no more than 10 people in large areas.” Ahern’s Las Vegas hotel was already fined for hosting a larger-than-allowed “Evangelicals for Trump” campaign event in August. Peter Weber