President Donald Trump just wrapped up two days of campaigning in Nevada.
Last night, he was in Henderson, and Saturday, he spoke to thousands of supporters at the airport in Minden.
In his speech in Minden, he attacked Assembly Bill 4, which created the state’s vote-by-mail system. He called it a Democrat attempt to rig the election, but Republican Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske oversees voting
His campaign’s private lawsuit against the state claims the law, which requires counties to send mail-in ballots to all registered voters, will put Republican voters at a disadvantage.
He called on supporters to observe the election to prevent a so-called Democrat plot to rig the election that is something he campaigns on everywhere.
“They’re trying to rig an election. We can’t let that happen,” the president said, “I hope you are all going to be poll-watchers. I hope you are. Because with you people watching the polls, it’s going to be pretty hard to cheat. I wouldn’t wanna be a cheater.”
He also talked about the historic wildfires we’re seeing in the West. Smoke filled the skies during the event and a fire helicopter came in for a landing before the president went on stage.
The president said the wildfires are a forest management issue. Back in 2018, he suggested that Californians start using rakes to clear the forest floor. He suggested that's what they do in Finland.
He’s meeting with firefighters in California Monday but didn’t acknowledge the link between climate change and the worst fire season on record during his speech in Minden.
That position is out of step with essentially all of the experts, including fire suppression personal who are saying this is a historic fire season the only way this would be possible is if it were from the impacts of climate change.
California has seen more than 3 million acres burn at this point.
The president has been doing a lot of these campaign rallies where he flies in and has the event at an airport. Originally, these events were supposed to be at the airports in Reno and Las Vegas.
The rallies violate the state’s COVID-19 emergency directive that caps public gatherings at 50 people. So, it wasn’t for sure the rally would happen.
Reno-Tahoe International and McCarran International Airports both blocked the original events over safety concerns related to the pandemic.
Gov. Steve Sisolak, who is a Democrat, says he wasn’t involved.
President Trump went with the Minden airport because it’s small, privately owned and located in Douglas County, Sheriff Dan Coverley’s jurisdiction.
The sheriff’s office provided traffic control and security.
Sheriff Coverley ran into controversy this summer when he told the libraries in Douglas County he wouldn’t respond to 911 calls because it wanted to adopt a statement in support of Black Lives Matter.
In addition, progressive groups in the state criticized the president's choice of going to Minden because it was a sundown town until the 70s. Douglas County passed a law that required people of color, particularly Native Americans, to be out of the town at 6:30 p.m.
A siren still sounds at 6 p.m. Minden residents say it is just a test of the emergency siren to make sure it works in case the volunteer firefighters are needed. Native American tribes want it silenced because they say it is a reminder of that law.
Two men at the rally who called themselves constitutional cowboys acknowledged the town's racist history but noted that history can't be erased. They also said that things have changed in the town.
Not a lot of people were wearing masks at the Minden event, but at least it was outside.
The Henderson event was at an indoor venue, where the risk of transmission of the coronavirus is higher.
Keri Barnes, a public school teacher from Reno, was at the rally in Minden, and she was wearing a mask
“I don’t want to bring home COVID to my kids. That’s the only reason why I would wear it while I’m here. But I still want to support Trump and everything that he does,” she said.
Initially, the Trump campaign said it was going around 5,000 people. During his speech, the president said it was 25,000. The real answer is somewhere in between those.
The Trump campaign held these big events in violation of Governor Steve Sisolak’s emergency directive.
Sisolak released a statement on the events, calling the rally in Henderson “reckless and selfish”
The statement continued: “This is an insult to every Nevadan who has followed the directives, made sacrifices, and put their neighbors before themselves.”
The governor's point is that COVID-19 mitigation efforts only work if you follow these directives that say you can't gather in groups larger than 50 and that's because people were coming from all over for these events.
There hasn’t been any indication there will be consequences – at least not yet
The venues themselves could face consequences. The rally in Henderson was held at an Xtreme Manufacturing warehouse. Reporters for the Associated Press report the rally there was “packed” and nearly everyone was mask-less.
In August, A Las Vegas hotel was cited by OSHA for holding a Trump event that violated the state’s limits on gatherings.
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