WASHINGTON – The city of Henderson, Nevada, where President Donald Trump recently held an indoor campaign rally, is fining the venue owner $3,000 for violating COVID-19 preventative measures imposed by the state’s governor.
Gatherings of more than 50 people are prohibited in the state. Attendees of Trump’s rally were also not required to wear masks, nor was social distancing enforced, despite state rules requiring those measures.
Henderson officials had issued a compliance letter and verbal warning to the event organizers prior to the rally.
Kathleen Richards, a spokeswoman for the city of Henderson, said in a statement: “During the event, a compliance officer observed six violations of the directives and the City’s Business Operations Division has issued a Business License Notice of Violation to Xtreme Manufacturing and assessed a penalty of $3,000.”
She added, the company “has 30 calendar days to respond to the notice and pay the penalty or dispute the notice of violation.”
Gov. Steve Sisolak, a Democrat, said that by hosting the rally, Trump was taking “reckless and selfish actions that are putting countless lives in danger here in Nevada.”
The president tweeted Monday night: “We had great rallies this past weekend, after the Governor of Nevada worked very hard to cancel all of our venues. Despite the fact that he controls the state, he failed, but would have rather done rally outside.”
Xtreme Manufacturing owner Donald Ahern, who is a hotel owner and local heavy equipment rental mogul, was previously fined more than $10,000 for hosting an “Evangelicals for Trump” event and a separate beauty pageant last month at one of his hotels. He has filed a separate lawsuit against Sisolak for those fines.
The Henderson rally 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.
It also came just a few days after journalist Bob Woodward’s bombshell reporting of a recorded interview with the president saying that despite knowing how “deadly” and serious the coronavirus pandemic would be, Trump wanted to “play it down.”
As of Tuesday, the U.S. has reported more than 6.5 million cases and more than 195,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins data.
In a statement, the Trump campaign said that everyone attending the Henderson event received a temperature check, was provided a mask (and encouraged to wear it), and had access to hand sanitizers.
Trump has blamed Sisolak for forcing his campaign to alter plans to hold two rallies at a private air facility at McCarran International Airport and at an airport hangar at Reno-Tahoe International Airport.
The Reno-Tahoe Airport Authority last week confirmed to USA TODAY affiliate the Reno Gazette Journal it had sent a letter to rally organizers warning that Saturday’s planned 5,000-person event “may not proceed” after airport attorneys determined it would violate state and local COVID-containment directives.
More: Trump campaign changed location of rally
Contributing: David Jackson, USA TODAY; James DeHaven, Reno Gazette Journal. The Associated Press