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Trump defies Nevada directive as thousands gather for indoor rally

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HENDERSON, Nevada Thousands of Trump supporters, the vast majority of them forgoing face masks, were packed into a manufacturing plant on Sunday night in a Las Vegas suburb, where President Trump ruthlessly ignored a directive from the ‘State limiting indoor gatherings to less than 50 people.

There was no sign of attempted social distancing within the venue. Attendees wearing red MAGA caps sat in white folding chairs crammed onto the floor of the Xtreme Manufacturing plant, which said on its website it had limited meetings and gatherings to no more than 10 people in large areas .

In his remarks, Mr. Trump unloaded his regular and inaccurate assault on former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., falsely accusing him of waging a dangerous war on the police and claiming he shot and all everyone knew it.

The rowdy crowd seemed to be enjoying the show, chanting at one point all lives matter when a protester tried to disrupt the speeches of the presidents.

Hoping to capitalize on Mr Bidens’ vulnerability with the state’s Latino voters, he won just 17% of the Latin American vote in Nevada caucuses, compared to 50% for Senator Bernie Sanders, Mr Trump. claimed his Democratic rival would be a disaster for Hispanics. -Americans.

Earlier today, the president, who entered the political arena by appealing to Mexican rapists who brought drugs and crime to the country, hosted a roundtable with Latin American small business owners. During the rally he said: Some say, call us Latino. Others say, call us Hispanic. Others say, call us whatever you like. We love you.

The campaign’s decision to hold an indoor Sunday rally came after two outdoor rallies across the state were scuttled, one because the Reno-Tahoe Airport Authority notified tenants who are renting the hangar there that the event was in violation of the state directive limiting gatherings to under 50. people. The campaign then looked at five different outdoor sites, all of which were blocked by the governor, according to an administration official familiar with the planning. He opted for the interior manufacturing plant as a last resort, adding extra ventilation and keeping the doors open.

Defending the decision to rally supporters indoors amid a pandemic, Tim Murtaugh, a spokesperson for the Trump campaign, said in a statement: If you can reach tens of thousands of people protesting in the streets, gambling in a casino, or torching small businesses in riots, you can peacefully rally under the First Amendment to hear from the President of the United States.

On Sunday evening, the president touted his event as a form of entertainment, while barely acknowledging that he was headlining an indoor rally for the first time since June 20, when he was greeted in Tulsa, Oklahoma, by a stadium that was more than half empty. He also made no mention of the toll of pandemics, even as they continue to kill hundreds of Americans a day.

What do we have? Mr Trump said, telling everyone to sit down and make themselves comfortable for the evening. Balloons boring as hell.

But the real title of the evening was the venue, more than the content of the president’s counterfactual lineage speech.

Tonight President Donald Trump is taking reckless and selfish actions that put countless lives at risk here in Nevada, Democrat Governor Steve Sisolak wrote on Twitter. It’s an insult to every Nevadan who has followed directions, made sacrifices, and put their neighbors before themselves. It’s also a direct threat to any recent progress we’ve made and could potentially set us back.

As of Sunday evening, there had been at least 73,648 cases and 1,454 deaths in Nevada since the start of the pandemic, according to a New York Times database. At least 12 new coronavirus deaths and 405 new cases were reported in the state as of September 12.

Weeks after the Tulsa rally, the city’s top health official said an increase in coronavirus cases in the region was likely linked to the event.

Michael Gwin, a spokesperson for the Biden campaign, said in a statement that every rally turned into a super-spreader event that Donald Trump decides to hold serves as a reminder to Americans that Trump still refuses to take this pandemic seriously and does not. still has no plan to quit. it, even after nearly 200,000 deaths and untold economic damage.

On stage, Mr Trump called Mr Sisolak a hack and told his supporters towards the end of his remarks: If the governor comes after you, which he should not do, I will be with you until the end. .

In interviews, several participants scoffed at the idea that there was a personal risk in attending a crowded indoor event. Some have called the coronavirus a hoax, and one man was wearing a t-shirt that read: social distancing. Another Trump supporter outside the room held a sign in the shape of the president’s head painted with the message: Media is the virus.

Hundreds of supporters who couldn’t enter the hall stood in large trucks to watch Mr Trumps’ speech on a Jumbotron outside, where dozens wore T-shirts and sweatshirts with a Q giant on the front, a reference to the QAnon conspiracy. theory that the president and senior administration officials refused to condemn.

Steven Wright, a 42-year-old construction worker, said he did not hesitate to come to the rally with his wife and teenage children.

We can’t stay home scared all the time forever, he said, moments before entering the building without a mask. It’s the most exciting thing we’ve been able to do in months. He gives us the kind of leadership we want, better than anyone.

Jennifer Medina reported from Henderson and Annie Karni from Washington.

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