As President Donald Trump pushed ahead with his first indoor campaign rally in months in Henderson, Nevada, on Sunday night, Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) condemned him for selfishly endangering lives and hosting an event deemed high risk by his own government.
Gatherings of more than 50 people have not been permitted in Nevada since May, a guideline based on White House recommendations. Sisolak denounced Trump’s actions in an 11-part Twitter thread.
“Tonight, President Donald Trump is taking reckless and selfish actions that are putting countless lives in danger here in Nevada,” he began. “Despite reports from his own White House, despite local officials in Southern & Northern Nevada reiterating to the venues the existing restrictions in State emergency directives, tonight, the President is knowingly packing thousands into an indoor venue to hold a political rally.”
He accused the president of failing to develop a unified national response strategy and ignoring guidelines states have established for themselves.
“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,” the governor wrote.
“This is an insult to every Nevadan who has followed the directives, made sacrifices, and put their neighbors before themselves. It’s also a direct threat to all of the recent progress we’ve made, and could potentially set us back.”
Trump’s rally, roughly 20 miles south of Las Vegas, is his first to be held indoors since his highly criticized Tulsa, Oklahoma, event on June 20. That gathering likely contributed to a spike in COVID-19 cases in the area, a top Tulsa health official said.
At another rally in Minden, Nevada, on Saturday night, Trump criticized Sisolak’s restrictions on crowd sizes and accused him of setting double standards for Republicans. “He tried to stop us,” Trump said. “He couldn’t.”
Rallies were originally planned at airports in Reno and Las Vegas, but they were moved after authorities said they would violate local directives.
The City of Henderson told Trump’s venue, Xtreme Manufacturing, that it would be violating state laws if the rally went ahead.
“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,” the City of Henderson said in a statement. “Specifically, gatherings of more than 50 people in a private or public setting is prohibited.”
The venue may face a fine of up to $500 for the violation and its business license could be suspended or revoked, the statement said.
Trump told his supporters that the venue’s owner thought it was unfair that Trump wasn’t allowed to host the indoor event and told them to “tell your governor to open up your state.”
The Trump campaign had said it would provide attendees with masks and temperature checks. Some attendees wore masks, but many did not. Social distancing did not appear to be enforced at the crowded event.
Trump has been under fire for his confession to journalist Bob Woodward that he deliberately misled Americans about the deadly threat of the coronavirus. Though he knew how dangerous the virus is, Trump downplayed it, pushed schools and businesses to reopen, promoted crackpot remedies and mocked people for wearing face masks.