President Donald Trump has hosted his first indoor rally in three months in front of a packed, mask-less crowd in Nevada, in open defiance of state regulations and his own administration’s pandemic President Donald Trump has hosted his first indoor rally in three months in front of a packed, mask-less crowd in Nevada, in open defiance of state regulations and his own administration’s pandemic health guidelines.health guidelines.
Eager to project a sense of normality, Mr Trump soaked up the raucous cheers inside a warehouse in Henderson, on the outskirts of Las Vegas.
Not since his humiliating rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma in June – which featured rows of empty seats and was blamed for a local spike in Covid-19 cases – has he gathered supporters indoors.
There was no early mention from the president that the pandemic had killed nearly 200,000 Americans and was still claiming 1,000 lives a day.
Few in the crowd wore masks, with one clear exception: those in the stands directly behind Mr Trump, whose images would end up on TV, were mandated to wear face coverings.
The rally in Tulsa, which was his first in three months after the coronavirus reached American shores, was a disaster for the campaign. One prominent Trump supporter at the rally, businessman and former presidential candidate Herman Cain, died of Covid-19 weeks later, though it was not clear if he contracted the virus in Tulsa.
Recognising that many supporters were uncomfortable gathering in a large group indoors, where the virus spreads more easily, the Trump campaign shifted to holding smaller, outdoor rallies, usually at aircraft hangers. But those rallies have grown in size in recent weeks, with little social distancing and few masks.
On Sunday, they returned indoors, in part as a nod to the Las Vegas-area heat. Temperature checks were given to all upon entrance at the industrial site in Henderson and while masks were encouraged, few wore them.
Nevada’s Democratic governor Steve Sisolak has limited in-person gatherings indoors and outdoors to 50 people since May, a recommendation based on White House reopening guidelines.
In a statement released just before the rally began, Mr Sisolak said Mr Trump was “taking reckless and selfish actions that are putting countless lives in danger here in Nevada”.
“To put it bluntly: he didn’t have the guts to make tough choices,” Mr Sisolak said of Mr Trump’s handling of the virus.
“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 city of Henderson informed Xtreme Manufacturing on Sunday that the event as planned was in direct violation of the governor’s Covid-19 emergency directives and that penalties would follow. The Trump campaign pushed back against the restrictions.
Source: Chester Standard