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Dems decry President Trump’s visit to Nevada, focus on November


On Saturday the Nevada State Democratic Party hosted a call with the National Democratic Party Chairman Tom Perez to focus on the 2020 campaign and activities and issues in Nevada. 

Nevada Dems Chairman and state Assemblymember William McCurdy II (D), U.S. Congresswoman Dina Titus (D), Nevada State Senator Yvanna Cancela (D) and Walker River Paiute Tribe Chair Amber Torres participated in the discussion. 

Chair Perez started things off with a harsh rebuke of President Trump’s record and his visit to Nevada over the weekend, saying, “We’re here today as Maddie pointed out because Donald Trump is heading to Nevada this weekend for rallies where he will mislead voters about the choices facing them this fall and spread more lies about his failed record.

Thousands of mostly unmasked people crowded into Donald Trump’s Minden rally on Saturday. Image: Ty O’Neil

“Nevadans have really taken it on the chin as a result of Donald Trump’s colossal failure to address the pandemic, colossal failure to address the economic collapse, colossal failure to address our civil rights pandemic,” Perez said. “Nevadans won’t be fooled by Donald Trump because they’ve been living with the consequences of his broken promises every single day.”

During the call there was also strong disapproval of President Trump’s rallies in Minden and Henderson that were held later that day and on Sunday. The rallies defied Governor Steve Sisolak’s health directives and guidance issued by the White House and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In the nearly hour-long conversation, the speakers delved into major policy failures and errors that the Trump administration has made during the coronavirus pandemic.

McCurdy raised the issue of federal funding for National Guard troops and the White House’s notification that it will stop funding Nevada at 100%. While five other states will continue to receive federal funding to cover 100% of National Guard costs through Dec. 31, Nevada will only receive 75% funding. 

Equally compelling was the testimony and statements of Torres and Cancela, who’s from Las Vegas, and the challenges that their constituencies and communities are facing from these issues.

Cancela mentioned a town hall that was held by Illinois Congressman Chuy Garcia (D) and Congresswoman Titus with Culinary workers on Thursday at a Latino Roundtable where members spoke about the challenges they’re facing.

“First is that Trump failed to mount a real response to the coronavirus,” Cancela said. “Joe Biden says it best when he says, ‘It didn’t have to be this bad.’ And for Latinos who are already dealing with racial and economic disparities, Trump’s mishandling of the pandemic led to exceptionally high unemployment for Latino workers, shuttering of Latino small businesses, and families dealing with record numbers of the virus.”

Torres–who lives in Schurz, Nevada–spoke to the situation facing Tribe members living on her reservation and the impact of the administration’s policy failures concerning the coronavirus.

“The racial contours of this pandemic have been well established through research,” she said. “Health and economic disparities manifest along racial lines, with communities of color disproportionately bearing the most severe impact of this crisis. Native Americans have seen the highest coronavirus mortality rates in the country. As I have reiterated before, our people’s lives are not expendable.”

U.S. Representative Dina Titus remarked on President Trump’s positions on race relations and climate change, as well as on her own work to prevent the Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Depository from activation. 

“The road to the White House leads right through Nevada, and we’re gonna do everything we can to deliver it for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, because Trump has been no friend to people in Nevada, no friend at all,” she said. 

Nevada’s National Guard has worked in a number of areas to support the state’s COVID-19 response. Image: Eric Marks

Most notable during the Q&A session was McCurdy’s direct and scathing criticism of Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic and the public actions of the president. He, too, spoke about the upcoming November election and the campaign so far and also praised Sarah Mahler, chair of the Democratic Party of Washoe County.

“As you mention, the president is here,” McCurdy said. “And it’s pretty interesting that he is here because he’s violating his own White House directives and putting more people at risk of contracting the virus. It’s grossly irresponsible, and it goes to show he is self-serving. He is completely about himself. He’s willing to put partisanship over the public health, and it should not be tolerated.”

Perez spoke about a partnership with the Democratic parties across Nevada called “Every Zip Code Counts.”

“We’ve been proud to invest with Chair McCurdy and every zip code across the state of Nevada because urban, rural, Democrat, Republican, independent, white, nonwhite–they all have pre-existing conditions,” Perez said. “They’ve all been absolutely affected in a horrific way by this pandemic and the economic downturn, and, so, we believe that Joe Biden’s message, building back better inclusion for everyone, is a message of a leader who’s going to unite us rather than divide us everywhere.” 

Titus chimed in, saying, “One thing I might add that we haven’t talked too much about that goes hand in glove with the pandemic is the opening of schools.”

Titus said Trump has had no plan for the reopening of schools, meaning both urban and rural schools have had no guidance from the federal government. She also noted that Trump has regularly suggested that children don’t get the virus.

“But we know that they do,” she said. “Some have even died. And there’s the teachers, the lunch room lady, and they take it home to their families. Joe Biden has a plan. He realizes local governments should make those decisions. They should have some national guidance, some standard set, some best practices established and the resources that they need to open safely. We all want our children to go back to school. Certainly the recovery from the pandemic, the recovery of the economy and the opening of schools all goes together.”

The message that the speakers on Saturday were trying to deliver ahead of President Trump’s swing through Nevada appeared unified, concerned, focused and, above all, in unison on the dangers of coronavirus. They were also unified in expressing their belief that the Trump administration’s response to the pandemic appears risky and negligent and puts at risk the people of the state of Nevada and the nation. The best solution to the challenges, they stated, is in November to help elect Joe Biden and Kamala Harris to the White House.

Don Dike Anukam
Don Dike Anukam
Don Dike-Anukam is a Reno native attending college in northern Nevada. He has been involved in activist politics for 15 years on and off, and has been involved in multiple campaigns in multiple positions in that time. He also was a college radio political, news, and talk-show host covering a range of stories from hostage standoffs, fires, interviews, and public speeches.