weather icon Partly Cloudy
RJ App
Vegas News, Alerts, ePaper

Nevada’s Cortez Masto praises Biden, chides Trump at virtual convention

Updated August 17, 2020 - 9:00 pm

WASHINGTON — Democrats opened their unconventional presidential convention Monday with a diverse slate of party leaders that included Nevada Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, who praised Joe Biden and running mate Sen. Kamala Harris while attacking President Donald Trump.

The former federal prosecutor and Nevada attorney general went straight after Trump for his attempt to throw out the state’s new law allowing mail-in voting.

“Mr. President, Nevada is not intimidated by you. America is not intimidated by you,” Cortez Masto said.

Speaking from a Las Vegas residence kitchen, Cortez Masto said Nevada followed scientific and medical expertise to pass the law that would allow everyone to cast a ballot, from the dinner table or a voting booth.

Trump, she noted, has sought absentee ballots twice this year and now is attempting to oppress voting rights with a lawsuit that Nevada’s own Republican secretary of state has asked a judge to dismiss.

“Donald Trump is trying to divide us by undermining that right,” Cortez Masto said.

She said further efforts by the president to dismantle the U.S. Postal Service would also place “the lives of Nevada’s seniors at risk by trying to defund the post office.”

“They won’t be able to get their prescriptions because he wants to win an election,” Cortez Masto said.

Trump Victory Nevada spokesman Keith Schipper said Cortez Masto “has forgotten who she represents.” He said Nevadans can’t afford the tax hikes of a Biden-Harris ticket.

Virtual event

In addition to Cortez Masto’s appearance at the convention, Nevada also will be represented on Tuesday when state Sen. Yvanna Cancela takes the stage to speak in favor of the Democratic ticket.

Democrats are holding a virtual convention without the balloons and confetti after the coronavirus pandemic shattered plans for a four-day confab in Milwaukee.

Republicans will present their vision of the next four years, beginning Aug. 24, with the four-day GOP convention that also will limit crowds and exposure.

Trump will receive the nomination to seek re-election and give his acceptance speech to a small gathering at the White House.

In Minnesota on Monday, Trump painted the Democratic presidential ticket as socialist and anti-law and order. He said Biden was afraid to come out of his basement to campaign.

“The Democrats are promising to elevate their left-wing war on cops and to bring it up to the White House in the form of a sleepy Joe Biden,” Trump told reporters. “I don’t think that’s going to work.”

Biden survived the party primary as a moderate in a field of more liberal and diverse candidates — like Harris, who is African American and Asian American — who represent the party’s broad demographics.

Cortez Masto, along with Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Sen. Doug Jones of Alabama, were chosen to help illustrate the Democratic Party’s diversity. Cortez Masto, who was once mentioned as a possible Biden vice presidential pick, is the first Latina elected to serve in the U.S. Senate.

Former Republican Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who ran against Trump in 2016, was also invited to talk in support of Biden in the 2020 race. Kasich has been an ardent GOP critic of Trump and his divisive rhetoric and actions.

“We can call see what’s going on in our country today,” Kasich said. “We can do better.”

Rising stars

The evening also included scheduled appearances by former first lady Michelle Obama and former Democratic presidential rival Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt.

The coronavirus and the havoc it has caused in Nevada was cited by Cortez Masto, who bowed out of contention for vice presidential selection in May.

Still, Cortez Masto heads the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, which hopes to turn the Senate blue by tying vulnerable Republican senators to the president and his low approval ratings.

“We are united by shared values, shared history and shared rights — including our fundamental right to vote,” Cortez Masto said in her speech. “And this fall, we’ll send Joe Biden to the White House, and we’ll flip the U.S. Senate. With (Senate Majority Leader) Mitch McConnell out of power and a Democratic majority in the Senate, we will expand voting access and protect voting rights.”

Cortez Masto is the highest-ranking official to speak at the convention from Nevada, considered a swing state in the presidential race and sought by Biden and Trump to secure the White House.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton defeated Trump in Nevada in 2016 by 2 percentage points.

But the state has seen growth in the registration of Democratic voters, which have helped Democrats gain control of the governor’s mansion and both branches of the state Legislature.

One rising star among state Democrats is Cancela, the first Latina to serve in the state Senate for the Clark County district that includes portions of Las Vegas and Paradise.

Cancela is one of 17 Democratic rising stars who will speak on Tuesday at the virtual convention, beamed in from across the country to talk about the ticket.

“It’s an honor to represent Nevada,” Cancela said in a tweet following the announcement and response to her inclusion in the Tuesday lineup.

Joe Solmonese, CEO of the Democratic National Convention, said new leaders are rising to mobilize the nation to beat Trump in November.

“Amidst all of the chaos and crises our nation is facing, Democrats are focused on finding new and innovative ways to engage more Americans than ever before,” Solmonese said.

Contact Gary Martin at gmartin@reviewjournal.com or 202-662-7390. Follow @garymartindc on Twitter.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
1st Trump co-defendant in Georgia case takes plea deal

Scott Hall Hall was indicted last month in connection with the breach of sensitive voting data in Coffee County in South Georgia on Jan. 7, 2021.

Last-ditch plan to keep government open collapses for McCarthy

The bill’s failure a day before Saturday’s deadline to fund the government leaves few options left to prevent a shutdown that will furlough federal workers.