President Trump on Sunday night held his first entirely indoor rally since June, and despite the fact that officials in the host city of Henderson, Nevada, had issued a warning prior to the event, the rally did indeed appear to violate restrictions placed on gatherings amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Per CNN, thousands attended and were "packed together"; Gov. Steve Sisolak has ordered that gatherings of no more than 50 are currently allowed in the state. On Sunday night, Sisolak issued a lengthy statement decrying the rally, Fox 5 Vegas reports. Among the words he used to describe it: "reckless," "selfish," "shameful," "dangerous," and "irresponsible." Sisolak notes the president's "own CDC" categorizes such an event as high-risk, but Trump "doesn’t believe the rules apply to him" and is putting Nevadans at risk for his own political gain. More:
- Trump supporters who spoke to CNN brushed off health concerns. "This is our First Amendment, it's my right to choose," said one 60-year-old. "This is not a dictatorship, this is a republic. And we have a right to be who we are and take whatever risks we so desire."
- News 3 Las Vegas also calls the crowd "maskless," though those in the stands directly behind Trump were mandated to wear masks; they were the ones who appeared on television. The campaign says masks were handed out and encouraged, but reports indicate few wore them.
- Trump has held multiple outdoor events since June, and his campaign did not explicitly state why an entirely indoor event was once again being held. But a campaign spokesperson did tell reporters, "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."
- One expert put it bluntly on CNN Sunday: "If you have a mass gathering now in the United States in a place like Nevada or just about any other place with hundreds of thousands of people, people will get infected and some of those people will die," Dr. Jonathan Reiner, a professor of medicine and surgery at George Washington University, said, per the Hill. He called the rally "negligent homicide," and a CNN column compares the whole thing to something straight out of The Hunger Games.
- As for what Trump talked about during his hourlong speech: a series of attacks on rival Joe Biden; the idea of mandatory prison sentences for flag burnings and the apparent endorsement of extrajudicial killings of anyone who targets a cop; and praise for UFC fighters who attended the event. He also declared football "boring as hell," a week after his son Eric declared the sport "officially dead," per USA Today.
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