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Donald Trump Jr. stumps in Sparks

By ThisIsReno
Published: Last Updated on

By Don Dike-Anukam and Jeri Davis

On Tuesday, at the Peterbilt Parts and Truck Sales office in Sparks, a few hundred Republican party faithfuls, Donald Trump diehards and a some undecideds gathered to hear the president’s son speak. Donald Trump Jr. is a conservative commentator who’s known for his multiple New York Times bestselling books attacking liberals. He’s also known for being one of the president’s most staunch advocates and defenders on television, social media and on the stump during his father’s administration.

This Is Reno spoke with several event attendees, including Chase, who preferred to identify himself by first name only. He said he’d heard about the rally last minute and wanted to come out to support the president.

Asked his thoughts on the previous night’s presidential debate, Chase said, “Suddenly, a two-way debate became a three-way debate. I thought Trump had good points. He was very aggressive, to the point he wasn’t letting his opponent have enough room to make his point. Speaking as someone who’s debated a little bit, you need to give your opponent enough room to breathe—and, shall we say, enough rope to hang themself.”

Chase said he thought moderator Chris Wallace had “good intentions when he started out, but, unfortunately, Trump is Trump—and it’s very hard to contain him. I believe that in Wallace’s intent to moderate he ended up debating with Trump.”

He added that he walked away from the debate feeling like there was no clear winner and no viewers’ minds changed.

Raven and Amanda Meyer said they’d driven to the event from Sacramento and told This Is Reno that they’d come to hear Trump Jr. speak because there are not many Trump rallies in California. Attending one there, they added, “can put a Trump supporter’s life at risk.”

To kick things off, John Phillips—the Peterbilt site’s owner and also a notable conservative supporter—spoke to the crowd. He gave a warm introduction and told a story about former Attorney General Adam Laxalt’s experiences at Georgetown University before Laxalt took the stage to also speak.

A handful of local Republicans spoke at a campaign event for Donald Trump in Sparks, including former Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt. Image: Don Dike-Anukam

But prior to Laxalt’s appearance, the crowd heard from several other local Republicans.

Pastor Maurice Washington, a former state senator, addressed the crowd and led them in a prayer. He said he’s excited to vote and that he’d be doing it in person, asking others to do the same.

State Republican Chairman Michael McDonald told attendees, “Let’s make Washoe really red. Let’s make Nevada red.”

McDonald asked the crowd to think back about where they were a few months ago when the Nevada Legislature approved Assembly Bill 4 during its special session, arranging for mail-in voting in the state. He, like other Republicans have, claimed this was done in the middle of the night and with the obvious intent to “stack the deck” in Democrats’ favor.

He noted that many in attendance that evening had also been in Carson City to protest AB4 and to protest in support of police.

“I told you in Carson City—I told you on the steps of the capitol—‘mark my words, Governor Sisolak in about a week out is going to lower the base so he can get everybody out to vote.’ So why in the world would they change and take your ballots? Because they cannot beat you. They cannot win if we go toe to toe… If they can’t beat you, they have to change the entire laws so they can cheat. Now, if they’re not worried about cheating, why not play it straight up? Ladies and gentlemen, you’ve come together. You united around Donald Trump,” calling Trump’s recent Minden rally the “largest peaceful protest in the nation.”

When Laxalt took the stage, he spoke about Tuesday’s presidential debate. He called Trump a warrior and Joe Biden “a hundred-year-old career politician bumbling his way through his answers.”

Laxalt said, “The media simply will not cover the other side of the story,” and that the president knows that and thus brought up Hunter Biden during the debates. Laxalt said he thinks everyone knows that family members should be off limits in politics and noted that Joe Biden was the vice president when Hunter Biden was involved as a board member of the Ukrainian energy company Burisma Holdings. Trump supporters often bring up the Bidens despite the fact that Trump’s family members have continued their international business dealings while simultaneously acting as advisers to the president.

When local speakers had finished addressing the crowd, music was played during a nearly hour-long delay before the caravan carrying Donald J Trump Jr. and Kimberly Guilfoyle arrived. Guilfoyle, who is the Trump Victory finance director and Trump Jr.’s partner, gave a warm-up speech similar to the one she gave at August’s Republican National Convention in Washington D.C.

Kimberly Guilfoyle introduced her partner, Donald Trump Jr., at a campaign event in Sparks. Image: Don Dike-Anukam

“All right, all right, hello Reno, Nevada!” she said. “How are you feeling tonight? Well, let me tell you something. You look gorgeous. I love It! I look out into this crowd, and I see four more years of President Trump!”

She concluded her remarks with her closing statement from the RNC Convention speech: “The best is yet to come!”

Then came the main event. Trump Jr. spoke for nearly 40 minutes and never let up on attacks on the Biden Family, the Biden-Harris campaign and liberal policy. He also defended his father’s record and made the pitch to supporters to go out and campaign for Trump.

“Wow, thank you guys,” Trump Jr. told the crowd. “For the record, if I have lipstick on it’s because Kimberly just gave me a kiss, OK? I don’t want people—you know the media will be like ‘Don junior was wearing lipstick; we don’t know what’s going on.’ So…it’s Kimberly’s fault, right baby? Thank you very much Kimberly for an incredible introduction, no one’s working harder than Kimberly. Also thank you so much to John Phillips for hosting us here today, good to see great American manufacturing and trucking.”

Trump Jr. told the crowd Nevada is so much better than its neighbor California and insinuated that fires in that state were set by “antifa,” saying protesters “got bored burning down our cities. They weren’t getting enough attention burning down Portland and others anymore, so they started burning down forests. That’s the kind of nonsense that we’ve got to stop.”

He told the crowd they’d elected a “fighter in 2016.”

“And does he ever fight,” Trump Jr. said. “But guess what? More importantly, he gets results! Think about it–we had the strongest economy America has ever seen. We renegotiated NAFTA, which they said was impossible—which destroyed American manufacturing since we’re sitting here with American manufacturing, right? Destroyed it so we sent American manufacturing to Mexico; we sent it to China. Joe Biden’s been pushing for this stuff for 50 years. Donald Trump did the opposite and said let’s put America first for a change.”

Earlier in the afternoon during a weekly COVID-19 update Washoe County Health Officer Kevin Dick said he was concerned about the rally.

“I know that the city is trying to do their best to work with Peterbilt on some controls and measures to help [control] the spread of the disease, but the bottomline is that the governor’s directive today is to limit gatherings to 50,” Dick said. “And so it’s not in compliance with the governor’s directive.”

Few people at the outdoor event were wearing masks and social distancing was not enforced or maintained.

State Senator Julia Ratti.
State Senator Julia Ratti.

Nevada Democrats didn’t stay silent about the event for long. The office of state Senator and Assistant Majority Leader Julia Ratti issued this statement: “Don Jr.’s visit today is proof that the Trump campaign is completely out-of-touch with the challenges that Nevadans are facing. As working families worry over the future of their health care as a result of Trump’s relentless attacks on the Affordable Care Act, the Trump campaign is once again endangering Nevadans’ public health and safety.

“As nearly 200,000 Nevadans remain out of work due to Trump’s historic recession, the Trump campaign is holding a fundraising rally. And as voters look for leadership that will bring Americans together, the Trump campaign is spouting more divisive lies and empty rhetoric. It’s a slap in the face to Nevadans in Sparks and across the state…Last night on the debate stage, Donald Trump failed to offer solutions that will address Nevadans’ most pressing concerns — from protecting our health care to bringing back jobs. In contrast, Joe Biden offered an antidote to Donald Trump’s toxic health care agenda, tanking economy, and failed leadership. This fall, the choice couldn’t be more clear. It’s time to turn the page on Trump and build our country back better by sending Joe Biden to the White House.”

Tensions are still high, on both sides following Tuesday night’s debate in Cleveland. Both Democrats and Republicans are showing Nevada is still in play and that the battle for hearts and minds is still in process 34 days left to go before the election.

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