an member station
President Donald Trump’s visit to Las Vegas Saturday drew one of the larger protests seen in Las Vegas in recent years.
The president visited Suncoast Casino to address the state Republican Convention and to help raise money for U.S. Senator Dean Heller, who is opposed by Democrat Jacky Rosen.
About 1,000 people stood in plus-100-degree heat for hours for the chance to boo at the president as his motorcade drove to the casino.
The crowd grew so large that overflow was shifted to the east side of Rampart Boulevard where there was more room. So the street, which had been shut down by Las Vegas police, had protesters on both sides.
President Trump’s motorcade did not pass through the gauntlet, however. His motorcade arrived by highway to the north and entered the casino grounds hundreds of yards away.
That didn’t matter to people who were there. It was very emotional for some, especially in light of the president’s zero-tolerance immigration policy that separated children and parents at the U.S. border.
Adam Berger, a Clark County school teacher, said it is reminiscent of the story of his grandparents, who were children and separated from their parents in Nazi Germany.
“My grandparents are survivors of the Holocaust and what I’m seeing is children taken away from their parents,” Berger said. “The same thing happened to my grandparents, they were separated from their family, my grandmother and her sister were the only ones who survived and my grandfather and his brother were the only ones who survived.”
One of the first protesters to arrive was Jeanne Terrell, a retired school teacher. She said the parent-child separation policy — which has since been rescinded by the president — was immoral.
“And I’m sick over it. Sick,” she said. “I don’t care how hot it is. I don’t care how long I have to stay out here. I want him to know that there are people who believe in right and snatching children away from their parents with no plan to return them … There have already been parents deported without their children. How can that be in this country?”
Inside Suncoast Casino, the president addressed Republicans, made up a slur for Jacky Rosen, Heller’s opponent, and was flanked by both Heller and Adam Laxalt, Nevada’s attorney general who is running for governor.
GOP supporters were also on hand. Some of them wandered over to the protesters.
Early on, when fewer than 100 people were there, a man who would only identify himself as Shawn ran up and to the protesters screaming.
“Secure the borders. No new world order,” he yelled. “How stupid are you people? You guys have got to be ignorant as they come. You are fighting against enslaving yourselves!”
That led to some discussion, including some between Shawn and an older man who told him Shawn he was a veteran.
“I respect this flag,” the man said quietly.
“I love this flag!” Shawn yelled back. “God guns and family, sir. That’s what this flag was built on.”
A scuffle broke out between two people and police arrested one for charges that were not immediately known.
Police separated the dozen or so pro-Trump supporters from anti-Trump protesters, having them stand on different sides of an entry road to Suncoast Casino.
On the pro-Trump side of the entry, one Trump supporter said he was sympathetic to the parents and children who were separated at the border. His solution? Build a wall between the United States and Mexico.
“You build a wall … At that point in time, it’s over with,” he said.
He added that if people are seeking political asylum, there is a legal way to do it.
“What these people are calling for, the Dems the libs, is total open borders,” he added. “If that happens we’re going to be inundated with so many people, it’ll destroy our standard of living. They’re going to bring all kinds of problems such as diseases, murder, rape, etcetera, etcetera.”
The man and other Trump supporters said the protesters were being paid by George Soros or someone unspecified to be there.
Connie Van Blarcum, who recently moved to Las Vegas from Minnesota, scoffed at that.
“Pay? Good grief most of us would rather be home. Its’ very hot today,” she said. “This is not healthy for people like me — I’m a senior citizen. Look at this crowd. All ages are represented. All racial diversities are represented. All religions are represented. This is the time — and there’s a book so I’m not being original — but the book is about calling upon our better angels. It’s time to do just that.”
Our journalism speaks for itself, and we answer only to you. That’s thanks to the 11,000 members of Nevada Public Radio. Each of them made a small commitment and became members of Nevada Public Radio. They didn’t have to — but because they did, you are here now. So we extend a hand and say, “Come join us!”