President Trump rallied supporters in Las Vegas on Friday afternoon, seeking to galvanize support in a state that he lost narrowly in 2016 on the eve of the Democratic caucuses there.
Trump’s remarks featured many of the hallmarks of his jam-packed campaign rallies, but the president made a point to tout his recent 2021 budget proposal, which cut funding to the long-delayed Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository in Nevada, in a reversal from his past budgets.
“I also recently took action on an issue Nevada has been dealing with for over 30 years, Yucca Mountain. You know Yucca Mountain?” Trump said to a cheering crowd. “My budget stops funding for the licensing of waste storage at Yucca Mountain so we can focused on positive solutions.”
“Why should you have nuclear waste in your backyard?” Trump said.
Trump sought to highlight his administration’s policies on the economy, immigration and trade, contrasting himself with what he described as a “socialist” Democratic field filled with candidates whom he singled out to mock at various points during the speech.
“With your help this November, we are going to defeat the radical socialist Democrats and we are going to win Nevada in a big, beautiful landslide,” Trump told the crowd.
Trump spoke to supporters in the Las Vegas Convention Center Friday afternoon, capping a four-day trip out West that mixed official and campaign business, including rallies and fundraisers.
Trump lost Nevada by about two percentage points to Democrat Hillary Clinton in 2016 and has hopes of winning the state in the 2020 presidential election.
Near the beginning of his remarks, Trump announced he would invite “sport legends” on stage, introducing the crowd to members of the 1980 “Miracle on Ice” U.S. Olympic hockey team, some of them sporting “Make America Great Again” hats. The group included captain Mike Eruzione, who gave brief remarks.
The president’s rally at the Las Vegas Convention Center came on the eve of the Nevada caucuses and just days after the city hosted the ninth Democratic presidential debate.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is currently viewed as the front-runner for the nomination, after strong finishes in Iowa and New Hampshire.
Trump at the outset of his remarks suggested that the Democratic caucuses in Nevada would experience chaos as the Iowa caucuses did roughly three weeks ago, claiming the Democratic Party “can’t count votes.”
“They say they’re going to have a lot of problems tomorrow,” Trump said, adding he hoped that wasn’t the case. “I hear their computers are all messed up like they were in Iowa.”
Iowa’s caucuses were marred by technical glitches and The Associated Press has yet to call the race.
Trump’s appearance in Las Vegas marked his third rally in three days this week, a swing that began with remarks to crowds of supporters in Phoenix, Ariz., and Colorado Springs, Colo., on Wednesday and Thursday evenings, respectively. He is returning to Washington following the Las Vegas rally.