Updated February 19, 2020 - 7:05 am
President Donald Trump landed in Las Vegas on Tuesday evening, just as Democrats in Nevada were wrapping up early caucus voting and preparing for the next presidential debate.
Trump’s four-day swing through the West includes three sleepovers in Las Vegas, where he will hold a rally on Friday.
Trump held rallies in Des Moines ahead of Iowa’s first-in-the-nation caucuses and Manchester ahead of the Democrats’ first primary. The Trump re-election campaign has ramped up its moves to win the news cycles as Democrats go to the polls to select their party’s nominee.
The president will speak at an official event Thursday and a campaign rally Friday.
The campaign also placed a full-page color ad in the Las Vegas Review-Journal on Wednesday, the day of the NBC-MSNBC Democratic debate.
“Nevada voters should know that it doesn’t matter which Democrat becomes their party’s nominee, because the big government socialist agenda will be front and center no matter who it is,” Trump 2020 national press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said in a statement.
Asked why he is returning to Las Vegas to spend the night after visiting California, Phoenix and Colorado Springs, Trump said, “The schedule is set by the Secret Service. We do what they want us to.”
After setting Washington abuzz Tuesday with news that Trump had pardoned and commuted sentences for a number of convicted felons, including former San Francisco 49ers president Edward DiBartolo Jr. and former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, the president left the White House bound for California, a frequent Trump foil.
While flying aboard Air Force One, Trump challenged a tweet in which Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti assured Angelenos, “Here in Los Angeles, our police department does not coordinate with ICE or participate in immigration enforcement.”
“The mayor’s efforts to shield illegal aliens endangers the lives of the public and law enforcement who have to go into the field to apprehend those released,” Trump responded.
After flying to Santa Monica on Tuesday, Trump headed to Beverly Hills, where he met with 2028 Olympic organizers and attended a fundraiser.
Trump used the meeting to shine a harsh spotlight on homelessness in Los Angeles and San Francisco, which he blamed on “the leadership” in those cities.
Trump then attended a fundraiser before he headed to Las Vegas.
While the White House does not disclose where the president spends the evening, Trump has stayed at the Trump International hotel during past trips to Las Vegas.
On Wednesday, Trump will return to the Golden State to raise campaign funds in Rancho Mirage. He will deliver remarks on water access in Bakersfield before he jets to Phoenix for a campaign rally.
“I think it’s a good use of his time and resources. Any time you can add to your war chest and troll Democrats is a good day,” Republican strategist Alice Stewart told the Review-Journal.
On Wednesday night, as Democrats debate at Paris Las Vegas, Trump will return to Las Vegas.
The exercise of presidential pardons came two days before a federal judge is expected sentence Roger Stone, a GOP bad boy and Trump associate who was convicted on seven counts of lying to Congress, tampering with a witness and obstructing a House investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.
On the same day, Trump will be speaking at a graduation ceremony for 27 ex-offenders who have completed the Hope For Prisoners program at the Metropolitan Police Department headquarters — a synergy of law enforcement and one-time criminals, Nevada GOP chairman Michael McDonald pointed out last week.
Jon Ponder, the former bank robber who founded the Las Vegas program, noted that the event had been in the works “for a while,” and saw no “relation whatsoever.”
After the graduation ceremony, Trump will head to Colorado Springs for another campaign rally.
Then it’s back to Las Vegas and another rally at the Las Vegas Convention Center at noon, before Trump returns to the White House.
On Sunday, Trump will leave for a two-day visit to India.
In 2016, Hillary Clinton beat Trump by 30 points in California. Trump won Arizona with 48.1 percent of the vote to Clinton’s 44.6 percent, but she garnered 48.2 percent in Colorado, while Trump won 43.3 percent of the vote.
Clinton won Nevada with 47.9 percent to Trump’s 45.5 percent.
Even though Trump lost the Silver State in 2016 and a blue wave claimed all but one statewide seat in 2018, Trump frequently has offered that he believes that he can flip Nevada.
But Democratic Rep. Dina Titus, the dean of the Nevada congressional delegation, told the Review-Journal last week, “I hope he spends a lot of money here because I think he has no chance to win Nevada.”
Contact Debra J. Saunders at dsaunders@reviewjournal or 202-662-7391. Follow @DebraJSaunders on Twitter.