President Donald Trump defended his decision to hold an indoor rally in Nevada on Sunday night in violation of state rules as he repeatedly slammed rival Joe Biden and told the crowd: ‘I’m what you need.’
The president riled up the few thousand supporters who gathered in a warehouse in the suburbs of Las Vegas to cheer on his re-election campaign.
He told the crowd how important their state would be in November in the contest against Biden, adding: ‘Maybe he’ll win because they don’t like me. They don’t like my personality. I hate to say it but I’m what you need. I’m what you need’ for the next four years.
‘We’re going to win four more years in the White House, and after we win four more years we’ll ask for maybe another four or so,’ he said.
Trump was criticized for his decision to hold the rally indoors, in a blatant violation of Nevada rules that limit gatherings to 50 people to try and contain the spread of the coronavirus.
There was no social distancing and few wore face masks – with a notable exception of those seated on the risers behind the president, the people who would appear on camera as he spoke.
‘If the governor comes after you, which he shouldn’t be doing, I’ll be with you all the way,’ he said during his 68-minute speech.
He thanked the owner of the Xtreme Manufacturing facility, who is facing state fines for allowing Trump to hold the event.
‘I want to thank him, Trump said, adding he was holding the rally because ‘this is the most important election in the history of the country.’
The rally resemebled those the president held before the country shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic – a hyped up crowd, a venue packed to the gills, cheering, shouting, laughing and all things celebrating Trump.
Even a protester couldn’t damage the mood. ‘All lives matter,’ the crowd yelled as the person was escorted out by security.
President Donald Trump defended his decision to hold an indoor rally in Nevada on Sunday night in violation of state rules
I hate to say it but I’m what you need,’ President Trump told a cheering crowd of a few thousand supporters
A Trump supporter listens as the president speaks
Trump called Democratic Governor Steve Sisolak of Nevada a ‘hack’ as the governor unloaded on the president for holding an indoor rally
He called Democratic Governor Steve Sisolak of Nevada a ‘hack’ and told the cheering crowd: ‘Tell your governor to open up your state.’
Trump repeated his unproven claim that Democratic governors were keeping their states closed to rig the election in Biden’s favor.
‘They’re only doing it to affect the November election,’ he said.
‘You have to get out and vote,’ he told the crowd and he warned them: ‘And you have to make sure your ballot is counted because they may not count it this time.’
Row after row of Trump supporters crowded together in the Xtreme Manufacturing warehouse with many attendees appearing to be in the elderly, more at risk population. Some were parents with young children.
Very few people in the crowd of a few thousands were wearing masks. Social distancing was impossible in the packed venue, where an American flag hung behind the stage and cranes lined the wall. Two large Make America Great Again signs hung on either side of the stage.
It’s so crowded some people have climbed onto the cranes while others are on an extended wall above the main floor.
The atmosphere was festive and party-like with people waving signs, shouting ‘Trump, Trump, Trump,’ and, at one point, they did the wave.
The rally is a blatant violation of Nevada’s regulations on gatherings due to the coronavirus, which limits them to 50 people.
Sisolak unloaded on President Trump ahead of the rally, slamming him as taking ‘reckless and selfish actions’ with his rally.
‘Tonight, President Donald Trump is taking reckless and selfish actions that are putting countless lives in danger here in Nevada,’ he said.
‘The President appears to have forgotten that this country is still in the middle of a global pandemic,’ Sisolak added.
He pointed to the measures he has enacted to try and contain the disease.
‘As Governor, I have worked with public health and infectious disease specialists to create emergency directives to protect public health and get our economy back on track. That means limiting gathering sizes, mandating face coverings and practicing social distancing. All of which the President recklessly disregarded for his own gain this weekend in Nevada,’ he said.
‘At a time when Nevada is focused on getting our economy back on track and protecting public health, the President’s actions this weekend are shameful, dangerous and irresponsible.’
President Donald Trump’s campaign is defending holding its first indoor rally in months on Sunday night in Nevada
Supporters wait for President Trump to speak at his rally; they are crammed in together in a warehouse with no social distancing and few masks
Supporters wave a ‘MAGA with a Vengeance’ sign
The location was so packed supporters lined up on a wall above the warehouse floor
Cranes are on the sides and corners of the warehouse, with supporters sitting on them
Supporters crowded into the venue, with many not wearing masks
Trump kept his remarks focused on attacking Joe Biden, the Democratic nominee who is leading him in polls in the state and national polls. The Biden campaign announced shortly before Trump’s rally that his running mate Kamala Harris would be in Las Vegas on Tuesday to combat Trump’s appearance in the state.
He repeatedly attacked Joe Biden for not being tough enough on crime and not being smart enough to be president.
The president brought back some of his favorite Biden attack lines, the ones that are crowd pleasers and had his supporting hollering and whopping, including Biden is hiding in is his basement, he’s shot, and that Biden gets the answers to media questions on a teleprompter to read.
He again questioned Biden’s mental ability to be president.
He mentioned he’s had dealings with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping.
‘I deal with all these people and they don’t have the mental problem Sleepy Joe has. They’re very sharp,’ he said.
‘Biden is too weak to be president and he’s not a smart person,’ he said.
He painted his rival as an ally of those who attack law enforcement.
‘Biden’s anti-police crusade must stop,’ he said.
‘For the entire summer Biden was quiet as his left wing supporters assaulted police officers,’ he said, adding a complaint that Biden didn’t say ‘law and order’ once during his political convention.
Trump has been portraying himself as the law and order president and has challenged Biden to say those words.
The president began his speech with words of prayer for two California deputies who were shot in an ambush while they were in their vehicle on Saturday night.
And he repeated his vow their attacker should receive the death penalty if they die.
‘If you murder a police officer, you should receive the death penalty,’ he said.
He called the person who shot two Los Angeles deputies as an ‘animal.’
‘He’s an animal. I was criticized by people for calling him an animal, he’s a human being. He’s not a human being,’ Trump said.
Biden has put out a statement supporting the deputies.
‘These attacks are absolutely unconscionable — they bring only greater violence, injustice, and grief to a nation in desperate need of healing,’ Biden said.
‘Acts of lawlessness and violence directed against police officers are unacceptable, outrageous, and entirely counterproductive to the pursuit of greater peace and justice in America — as are the actions of those who cheer such attacks on. Those who perpetrate these crimes must be brought to justice, and, if convicted, face the full brunt of the law,’ he added. The Democratic presidential nominee will make a speech on the matter on Monday in Wilmington.
Trump repeatedly attacked Joe Biden, who is seen above on Sunday morning with grandchildren Natalie Biden (L) and Hunter Biden II (C) as they depart St. Joseph on the Brandywine Roman Catholic Church after Natalie’s confirmation Mass
Supporters try to catch a hat thrown into the crowd as President Donald Trump speaks at his rally
Trump also went after Kamala Harris, Biden’s running mate.
‘We’re going to have a woman president one day. It’s not going to be her,’ he said.
Trump also attacked former President Barack Obama for spying on his campaign, to which his supporters shouted back: ‘Lock him up.’
He twice referred to the former president ‘Barack Hussein Obama’ – a throw back to his false charge Obama is a Muslim who was not born in America.
And the president threw in some laugh lines that had the crowd roaring.
He pointed to the large crowd size and noted: ‘What do we have? Football is boring as hell. It’s just not the same. They used to say could you keep it away from football. Now they say do it during football.’
The rally comes after the campaign saw its last indoor one in Tulsa result in several staffers and a few Secret Service agents test positive for COVID.
‘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,’ campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh said in a statement.
Trump is holding his rally in Henderson, Nevada, after state officials squashed his plans to hold an outdoor event at the Las Vegas airport because of restrictions on gatherings due to the coronavirus.
Instead, the campaign scheduled a visit to the the Xtreme Manufacturing facility, about 15 miles away from Las Vegas, where the president will speak at a warehouse there.
Henderson officials have warned Xtreme Manufacturing that it will be violating state regulations if the rally proceeds.
‘The City of Henderson has issued a compliance letter and verbal warning to the event organizer that the event as planned would be in direct violation of the governor’s COVID-19 emergency directives. Specifically, gatherings of more than 50 people in a private or public setting is prohibited,’ City of Henderson spokeswoman Kathleen Richards told CNN.
She said there could be a fine of up to $500 per violation.
‘Large live events must be approved by the Nevada Department of Business and Industry, Division of Industrial Relations and at this time, the City has not been notified that this event has been approved. The City may assess a fine of up to $500 per violation of the governor’s directives as well as suspend or revoke the business license,’ she said.
Supporters wait in line to attend the ‘Great American Comeback Event’ campaign rally for President Trump
Casey Karlen and his son McKay Karlen wait for President Donald Trump during an indoor campaign rally at Xtreme Manufacturing in Henderson, a suburb of Las Vegas
A supporter wears a Trump 2020 face mask at President Trump’s rally in Henderson, Nevada
Trump railed against Democratic Governor Steve Sisolak for canceling his planned events for the critical battleground state. Officials also canceled Trump’s plans for a rally at the Reno airport but the campaign moved it 45 minutes away to a more conservative county so it could take place as planned.
‘The governor tried to stop us,’ Trump said on Saturday night. ‘He’s a political hack.’
‘He’s a guy who tried to silence us by not having this but our crowd turned out much bigger,’ the president bragged as the crowd at his rally roared their approval.
Trump’s rally in Minden, Nevada, on Saturday night also violated the limitations on gatherings with thousands in attendance, no social distancing and few wearing face masks.
Given the conditions for Sunday’s rally in Henderson, some of the TV networks have decided not to send their camera crews and correspondents inside the event. There will still be a pool camera inside to record it, CNN reported.
The Trump campaign noted every attendee at Sunday night’s event will get a temperature check prior to admission, be provided a mask they’re encouraged to wear, and have access to plenty of hand sanitizer.
But those same precautions were put in place in Tulsa three months ago, where eight campaign staffers and two Secret Service agents tested positive for coronavirus after Trump held a rally there in June.
The Trump campaign will have the same safety precautions in place as it did at the president’s June rally in Tulsa (above) where eight staffers and two Secret Service agents tested positive for COVID
The rally was an embarrassment for Trump both politically and personally as the expected crowds failed to show – leaving rows of empty blue seats in the arena
Herman Cain attended President Trump’s June 20th rally in Tulsa, where he tweeted the above photo; he died of COVID in July although his staff said it was unclear where he contracted the disease
All of the campaign staff that tended that June 20th rally in Tulsa ended up quarantining as a safety precaution as did several Secret Service agents who had contact with the two that tested positive.
Trump had pushed for a big campaign rally as part of his push to get Americans back to their normal routine after months of staying indoors due to the COVID pandemic, which has killed almost 200,000 Americans.
But the fallout from the Tulsa rally – which led to heavy criticism of the president for holding it and had state officials in Oklahoma complaining the event led to a spike of COVID cases in the state – eventually led to the replacement of Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale.
Health officials in Oklahoma warned ahead of time of the dangers of the indoor event.
White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany defended the decision at the time, saying it’s ‘people’s individual choice as to whether to go’ and noted that the campaign handed out masks.
But the rally also proved an embarrassment to Trump both politically and personally.
The location was chosen as Oklahoma was far along in the reopening process after the COVID lock down. Plus it’s a deep red state that was expected to show Trump plenty of support and enthusiasm.
The president and Parscale had both bragged that one million tickets had been requested for the event, only for the 19,000-seat BOK Center to have 6,200 people in it, according to Tulsa officials.
Scenes from the event showed row after row of empty blue seats staring back at Trump in what was supposed to be his campaign comeback.
The high number of ticket requests led the campaign to plan for an outdoor event to handle the expected overflow crowd – only have to cancel it at the last minute when people did not show up.
Additionally Herman Cain attended the rally. He died of the coronavirus a month later. The White House said he did not contract it at the Tulsa event and Cain’s staff said it was not clear where he had gotten the disease.
He tested positive on June 29 and was hospitalized on July 1. He died on July 30 at the age of 74.
Trump’s rallies in the aftermath were outdoors, usually at airport hangers, until Sunday when he will hold his indoor event.
The campaign has attendees sign a health waiver in case they get sick at any Trump gathering.