GOP leaders charge bias in rally cancellation

Published: Sep. 10, 2020 at 6:45 PM PDT
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - A planned campaign rally at the airport is now off. but Trump campaign spokesmen insist the president will still be coming to Reno Saturday.

While alternative plans are still in the works, the battle of words that followed the cancellation continues.

When the event was announced earlier this week everyone envisioned a variation of the president’s visit to Reno in August of 2017. Air Force One landing at the airport, this time to headline a campaign rally right there in a private lease hangar at the south end. A similar event was planned for a hangar at the Las Vegas airport, but the plans ran afoul of the governor’s current directives for the pandemic, limiting public and private gatherings to 50 people or less.

The airport said no and predictably touched off charges of bias.

Thursday morning Nevada GOP leadership held a conference call with the state’s press laying the blame squarely at the governor’s feet saying it fit a pattern of using the public health directives to shut down Republican events, something they said happened last month with an Evangelicals for Trump meeting held at a Las Vegas hotel.

“It is pretty obvious with this event and last month’s event he only has a problem if Republicans are trying to assemble," said Nevada Republican State Chairman Michael McDonald, “and that’s obviously very concerning and something he should have to answer to. Why do you have one set of rules for everyone else and another for Republicans and supporters of the president?”

The governor has earlier denied any role in the matter and has had no new response, but the state Democratic Party issued a statement this afternoon charging the president and his allies with “turning a public health crisis into a partisan issue,” adding if the Nevada GOP needed a scapegoat they should look to the president and his handling of the pandemic.

McDonald and a Trump campaign spokesman were asked more than once about the plans for an alternative event. They gave no details, simply saying the president was still coming and plans would be announced soon.

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