A Las Vegas hotel received a civil penalty and a $250 fine this week after hosting a faith-based campaign event for President Donald Trump that violated the city’s COVID-19 social gathering restrictions.
More than 500 people attended Thursday’s “Evangelicals for Trump” event at the Ahern Hotel and Convention Center, which was headlined by the president’s pastor and spiritual adviser, Paula White.
According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, attendees were required to wear masks, and their temperatures were checked upon arrival. Signs urged anyone who felt ill to go home.
A short video posted to Twitter by Faith and Freedom Coalition founder Ralph Reed showed a “packed house” taking in a musical performance in the Ahern Hotel’s lobby.
City and state officials reportedly urged organizers not to move forward with the event, as doing so would violate Gov. Steve Sisolak’s coronavirus restrictions on gatherings of more than 50 people.
The Las Vegas City Council expressed those concerns in a Thursday letter to the Ahern Hotel’s president and general manager, Keith Wright. A copy of the letter that appeared on Fox affiliate WVVU-TV’s website stated that the event would be “in violation of the governor’s current directive for public and private gatherings” and, as such, “may result in civil fines, license suspensions, and/or denial of your pending permanent licenses.”
Given that the Ahern lobby’s maximum capacity is more than 1,600, the Trump campaign has maintained that the event fell within the 50% operating directive for casinos and restaurants and that it not subjected to the 50-person cap on churches and houses of worship.
Appearing at the event Thursday, White reportedly said that Sisolak, a Democrat, had attempted to block the event. She also reiterated her support for Trump, telling the crowd, “Our president understands how important faith is to our country.”
“I remember looking at him knowing in my spirit he was going to be president someday,” she added, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “And I said, ‘Our country needs you, sir.’”
HuffPost has reached out to representatives of White and the Ahern Hotel for comment.
As of Friday, there had been more than 53,557 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Nevada, according to Johns Hopkins University.
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