President Trump made an appeal to Hispanic voters in Nevada on Sunday, warning them that Democratic rival Joseph R. Biden “is not a strong person” to fight crime and that he would stop the economic recovery in its tracks.
Speaking at a roundtable with supporters in Las Vegas, the president cited a shooting over the weekend in which a gunman ambushed two Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies as they sat in their patrol car.
“The thing with Biden is he’s not a strong person, and he’s not strong for law and order, and everybody knows that,” the president said. “When you see a scene like that happening last night in California — a woman, a man, shot at stone-cold range through a window — we are looking for that person.”
He pledged, “When we find that person, we are going to get much faster with our courts and we have to get much tougher with our sentencing.”
Mr. Biden called the shootings “absolutely unconscionable.”
“Acts of lawlessness and violence directed against police officers are unacceptable, outrageous, and entirely counterproductive to the pursuit of greater peace and justice in America — as are the actions of those who cheer such attacks on,” Mr. Biden said in a statement. “Those who perpetrate these crimes must be brought to justice, and, if convicted, face the full brunt of the law.”
The president held a series of big weekend campaign rallies in the hotly contested state in defiance of Nevada’s Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak, who has limited in-person gatherings during the COVID-19 pandemic to 50 people or less. Mr. Trump called the governor a “hack” who is trying to silence the free-speech rights of his supporters.
The Trump campaign decided to hold its first indoor rally since June 20 in Henderson, Nevada, on Sunday night, despite the coronavirus concerns of state officials. Campaign officials said each attendee was getting a temperature check, being issued a mask that they were encouraged to wear, and being given access to hand sanitizer.
“If you can join tens of thousands of people protesting in the streets, gamble in a casino, or burn down small businesses in riots, you can gather peacefully under the First Amendment to hear from the president of the United States,” said Trump campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh.
Mr. Biden is leading the president in Nevada, 46% to 42%, in a New York Times/Siena College poll released Saturday, although the Democrat’s advantage is within the survey’s margin of error.
Hispanics make up 19% of voters in Nevada, and the Trump campaign is working to build the president’s support among them with appeals to faith-based issues like school choice and abortion, and on law and order.
“We are very high and leading with Latinos,” Mr. Trump said. “I have achieved more for Hispanic Americans in 47 months than Joe Biden in 47 years.”
On the issue of school choice, Mr. Trump said, Mr. Biden “wants to rip away the ladder of opportunity for millions of Hispanic-American children.”
The president lost Nevada in 2016 by 2.5 percentage points. Trump campaign senior adviser Jason Miller said their internal polling shows the president leading in Nevada, pointing to the heavy turnout at a rally Saturday night in rural Minden, Nevada.
“Over 20% of the people who are at (Saturday’s) event didn’t even vote in 2016,” Mr. Miller said on “This Week” on ABC News. “That’s why our internal numbers show us actually winning Nevada. We’re very well positioned. It’s another blue state we’re going to flip this year.”
Coronavirus-related lockdowns staggered the local economy in Las Vegas this summer as the state ordered casinos and hotels to close.
Jesus Marquez, a small-business owner on the campaign’s Latinos for Trump advisory board, said the issue of law and order is reaching Hispanic voters.
“The law and order that you propose is what we want in all of our states, especially in our Hispanic community,” he told Mr. Trump. “You are the president for that.”
The president will make a brief stop in California on Monday during his Western swing to get a briefing on wildfires ravaging the west coast states.
“Again, forest management, I keep telling them,” Mr. Trump said Sunday.
Mr. Trump then will make a campaign stop in Arizona, a state he won in 2016 but where is trailing Mr. Biden in public polls.
The president also emphasized his strength in managing the economic recovery from the pandemic better than Mr. Biden.
“Joe Biden would terminate this recovery,” he said, referring to the Democrat’s willingness to consider another shutdown on the advice of experts. “You can’t just listen to your professionals, you have to have some sense, you have to make a decision.”
Mr. Biden is leading the president by double-digits among Hispanics nationally, although a Marist-NBC survey last week showed Mr. Trump with a 4-point lead among Hispanic voters in Florida. Hillary Clinton won two-thirds of Hispanic voters in Florida in 2016.
A CBS News/YouGov survey released this weekend showed Mr. Biden receiving 62% support from Hispanics in Arizona and Minnesota, with Mr. Trump getting 27%. In 2016, Trump won 28% of the Hispanic vote.
Mr. Trump accused the Nevada governor of calling various venues to try to prevent his campaign rally, calling Mr. Sisolak a “political hack.”
The president’s campaign has asked a federal judge to block a law in Nevada, which is set to send out mail-in ballots to all registered voters in the state due to the coronavirus pandemic. Nevada has significantly expanded mail-in voting this year during the pandemic.
Mr. Trump has repeatedly warned against universal voting, claiming it creates fraud and damages the integrity of the election.
“This is the guy we are trusting with millions of ballots — unsolicited ballots,” the president said. “Are they sending them to Democrat areas? They’re trying to rig this election.”
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