RENO — Republicans planned a protest Thursday night in support of their First Amendment rights as President Donald Trump moves forward with plans to campaign in Nevada this weekend despite the state’s 50-person cap on public gatherings.
Rallies originally planned at airport hangars in Reno and Las Vegas were scuttled due to concerns about the COVID-19 restrictions, but state Republican Chairman Michael McDonald assured reporters Trump will be in Nevada this weekend. He said details of the campaign events would be forthcoming
McDonald accused Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak of setting a double standard for Republicans and others who want to stage protests, including Black Lives Matter. He said the 50-person limit hasn't been enforced at those events.
“We have to have our voices heard," McDonald said. “We’re going to push back. President Trump’s a fighter. There’s no doubt about that. He will be in Nevada this weekend.”
“Since the governor is allowing protests, we are going to have a peaceful protest.... Feel free to try to shut us down governor. You let BLM in. We want our voices heard. This is where we take a stand,” he said about Thursday's protest planned in Las Vegas.
Sisolak has limited in-person gatherings indoors and outdoors to 50 people since May, a recommendation based off White House reopening guidelines.
State Democratic Party spokeswoman Madison Mundy said Trump and his allies are trying to turn a public health crisis into a partisan issue.
“If Trump had offered leadership and a clear national strategy to contain COVID-19 months ago, instead of intentionally downplaying the virus, these emergency directives would not be necessary and thousands of Americans would still be alive,” Mundy said in a statement Thursday.
Keith Schipper, the regional spokesman for the Trump campaign who joined McDonald in a conference call with reporters, reiterated plans for the president to campaign in Nevada this weekend but declined to provide details.
“The president loves Nevada, has obviously made it a priority, has been out here numerous times. He totally expects that he is going to come out and he is going to have crowds. And that is what we’re going to have this weekend,” Schipper said.
He noted that Trump has been holding rallies across the country, citing Republican Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, who “has made it very clear he is not going to impede on people’s First Amendment rights to attend, to assemble for political purposes.”
He complained that Sisolak "has had no problem when others have politically assembled. Why do you have one set of rules for other folks and another set for Republicans and supporters of the president?”
The governor’s office did not immediately responded to requests for comment on Thursday.