HENDERSON, Nev. (NewsNation Now) — President Donald Trump on Sunday hosted his first indoor rally since June, telling a Nevada crowd that the nation was “making the last turn” in defeating COVID-19.
“We are not shutting the country again. A shutdown would destroy the lives and dreams of millions Americans,” Trump said.
There was little to no social distancing among the thousands of supporters who gathered to hear the president speak in Henderson, a city just 15 miles outside of Las Vegas, according to NewsNation reporter Orko Manna who attended the rally. Most people weren’t wearing face masks.
Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak, a Democrat, 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, Sisolak said 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,” Sisolak said of 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, with the president saying he would support those in attendance “if the governor came after you.”
“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 First Amendment to hear from the President of the United States,” campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh said.
The rally came the night before Trump was to travel to California to receive a briefing on the devastating wildfires racing through the region.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.