President Donald Trump addressed Nevada voters via campaign conference call Monday, touching on a variety of key issues while also pledging to campaign in the state “very shortly.”
Trump called the Nov. 3 general election “the most important in history,” adding that it is particularly critical he “really win big in Nevada.”
“That’ll be the difference between winning and maybe not winning,” the president said of his stake in the Silver State.
Throughout the call, Trump criticized Democratic nominee Joe Biden, saying Biden supports socialism, open borders, ending private health care and defunding police — all of which the former vice president has denied as the campaign has heated up.
He also talked up his own accomplishments, with a focus on tax cuts and job creation.
Prominent Nevada Republicans Rep. Mark Amodei, Nevada Republican Party Chairman Michael McDonald, former Attorney General Adam Laxalt and congressional candidates Dan Rodimer and Jim Marchant were on the call but did not speak.
A Facebook Live broadcast of the call hovered around 20,000 listeners as Trump quickly bounced from issue to issue. It’s unclear how many Nevadans listened in by phone, but his campaign said calls in previous battleground states have hovered around 1 million Facebook views and tens of thousands of landline participants.
Immigration and health care
Health care and immigration, both top issues in the state, were two of the larger parts of Trump’s call, as the president claimed Biden had allied with Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders on various “socialist” platforms.
“They want to take away your union health care, if you’re in the union, for socialized medicine and medical and health care,” Trump said. “They want to take away 180 million people’s private health care. They have health care they really like, and they want to take it away.”
Nevada has among the highest concentration of union workers of any state.
He continued: “So union members, they’re taking away your health care. And you have a good health care system… I know it very well.”
During previous Las Vegas campaign stops, including a town hall with the powerful Culinary Local 226, Biden has repeatedly said he did not plan to take away any union or private health care. His platform calls for keeping the Affordable Care Act, which Trump also criticized in his call, and adding a public, Medicare-like option that anyone may buy into.
The Culinary union did not endorse a candidate in the Democratic caucuses, which Trump vaguely referenced as well.
The president also accused Biden of supporting sanctuary cities, which he said is “just supporting crimes.”
“They want to abolish borders,” Trump said of Biden and Sanders. “They want to take down the wall. Can you believe that? Take down the wall which is having such a great impact. And again, we want people to come into our country, but they have to come in legally.”
Biden has said previously he does not support eliminating criminal border crossing penalties nor abolishing U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, commonly referred to as ICE.
Trump said Biden also supports granting work permits, health care, taxpayer-funded lawyers and free community college to “illegal aliens.”
“They want to sign up all new illegal immigrants to welfare immediately and end requiring for immigrant self-sufficiency and maximize all welfare payments to illegal aliens,” Trump added.
Campaigning and voting in Nevada
Trump thanked Amodei, the only Republican member of Nevada’s federal delegation, for being “an absolute warrior” for him. (The Trump campaign in Nevada, however, elected not to have Amodei reprise his role as leader after Amodei made comments supporting an inquiry into Trump’s conversations with the president of Ukraine, although not the impeachment that resulted from them.)
He pledged to “be there very shortly” to campaign with Rodimer and Marchant, who are both challenging incumbent Democrats in Southern Nevada battleground districts.
“Between Dan and Jim, I think you’re going to have a very big success,” Trump said.
Trump has not campaigned in Las Vegas since February. Since then, he and Vice President Mike Pence have made multiple stops in larger battleground states, such as Minnesota, Arizona and Wisconsin, but not Nevada.
Biden has also not visited Nevada since before the Feb. 22 caucuses and subsequent pandemic. Democrats have mounted an almost entirely virtual campaign in the state on his behalf, citing health concerns associated with in-person events.
The president also thanked the cadre of assembled Republicans on the call for lending support in his campaign’s ongoing lawsuit and struggle against recent changes to Nevada’s voting laws.
“They’re working with me to fight legislation that your Democratic government rammed through to flood your state with unsolicited mail voting,” Trump said.
Although Trump said his lawsuit should win on the merits, he struck a similar chord as Nevada Democrats when he encouraged voters to “mail in your unsolicited ballot very early.”
He also encouraged “solicited ballots,” or absentee voting, and for voters to track their ballots to make sure they were received by their county election office.
Trump opened his call by recounting many of the accomplishments he focused on during last week’s Republican National Convention.
As president, Trump claimed he’s brought back manufacturing jobs, eliminated key terrorist threats, strengthened the military and has completed nearly 300 miles of border wall between the United States and Mexico.
The administration also passed what Trump called the largest tax and regulation cuts in history, with more on the way, he added.
He claimed that Biden would substantially raise taxes for all Americans. Biden said in a recent interview with ABC News that he would not raise taxes on anyone making less than $400,000 per year.
Trump also addressed the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, which has been the major focus of criticism from Democrats on the campaign trail.
“I mobilized the largest response wince World War II to fight the China virus,” Trump said. “And we are doing really well. Our numbers are excellent — really good. And hopefully, we’re rounding the final turn on that disaster, given to us by China.”
Trump also pledged to bring 10 million new jobs to the country within the first 10 months of his second term, nodding to Nevada’s particular economic struggles during the pandemic.
“I know your state very, very well,” said Trump, whose family business operates Trump International Hotel Las Vegas north of the Strip. “You know I’m there all the time. It’s great. I know what’s good, what’s bad. And I tell you we’re only going to take the good.”
Local Democrats respond
Nevada Democratic Party Chair William McCurdy II said Trump spreads lies and empty rhetoric as the United States reaches 6 million COVID-19 cases — by far the most of any country in the world.
“Nothing Trump said tonight will change the fact that his failed pandemic response has cost Nevadans their lives and their livelihoods,” McCurdy said. “Nevadans saw right through Trump’s empty rhetoric four years ago, and they’ll reject his record of broken promises again this November when they send Joe Biden to the White House.”