Airport Trump Rally canceled, accusations of bias follow

Published: Sep. 9, 2020 at 7:15 PM PDT
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - His campaign says President Trump is still coming to Nevada this weekend, but where and what the event will be has suddenly become uncertain.

The president’s stop Saturday in Reno was to have been a rally at a hangar near the south end of the Reno-Tahoe International Airport. The company that leases that hangar agreed to host the event and informed the airport authority on Friday, but didn’t describe the scope of the gathering. Tuesday, the authority’s attorney looked at the planned attendance of 5,000 and discovered a problem. It didn’t fit the governor’s directive limiting public and private gatherings to no more than 50 people.

“And that’s not imposed by the airport," says Airport Spokesman Brian Kulpin. "It’s imposed by the state and the county health department has a 25-person recommendation on social gatherings. So this is about safety. It’s about meeting the laws of the state and meeting the lease’s obligations.”

And that’s because the hangar’s lease agreement prohibited any activity violating legal directives.

So, the rally was canceled as was a similar one in Las Vegas for the same reasons. To no one’s surprise that brought an angry reaction and charges of political bias.

Trump campaign chair for Nevada, Adam Laxalt, said such airport rallies have been held elsewhere with no objections.

"For some reason here in Nevada due to some political tentacles going on behind the scene these events were approved and then they were yanked out from under the campaign.”

He wasn’t the only one to suggest politics had played a role. “I think what this reveals is a systemic bias here," said Trump Campaign Senior Strategy Advisor Steve Cortes. "I think that the governor of Nevada and other Democratic leaders around the country know that Joe Biden could hold his rallies in a broom closet because that’s level of enthusiasm he generates out there.”

For the record, the governor’s office denies any involvement and Kulpin insists it was about the pandemic, not politics.

As for the president’s plans, the campaign insists he’s still coming. Venue and format to be determined.

“My suggestion to them is that boat parades for Trump have become quite a thing," said Cortes, who added such decisions is not part of his role in the campaign. “Let’s do one on Lake Tahoe, one on Lake Mead. That would be at least something we could do without the permission of the governor.”

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