Published Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2016 | 1:29 p.m.
Updated Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2016 | 2:32 p.m.
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump called running mate Mike Pence’s debate performance Tuesday night the “most decisive victory” in the history of vice presidential debates.
Speaking to a crowd of about 7,000 people today at the Henderson Pavilion, Trump said Pence gave Americans a first-hand look at his judgment, saying people with solid judgment are needed to make good deals.
The Henderson event was Trump’s first noncasino rally of the campaign in Southern Nevada, previously appearing at Treasure Island, the South Point and the Westgate.
“It’s great to be here in the city of Henderson,” Trump said, promising he would win the state. “This is a special state. I’ve certainly spent a lot of money in this state if it’s not.”
Trump said that, if he doesn’t win the election, this will have been the “greatest waste of time, money and energy” in his lifetime “by a factor of 100.”
He talked about how American workers are working harder and longer than two decades ago and earning the same wages. “I’m also older and I’m also working the hardest that I’ve ever worked in my life doing this,” Trump said.
Trump touted his “America-first” plan, saying that there would be “no more, like, let’s take care of everybody else except ourselves.”
Trump also talked about Russian President Vladimir Putin, who Democrats have tried to link closely to Trump, saying he doesn’t have any strong sentiments about the Russian leader one way or another. “I don’t love; I don’t hate. We’ll see how it works. We’ll see,” Trump said. “Maybe we’ll have a good relationship. Maybe we’ll have a horrible relationship.”
He also touted his support for veterans, while lamenting some of the negative TV ads against him. He called the ads a “disgrace” and suggested he would file a lawsuit over the ads.
Trump also noted that former President Bill Clinton on Monday called the Affordable Care Act “the craziest thing in the world.”
“Bill had a different view” of the healthcare policy, Trump said. “He said it’s just a crazy system, and that’s the way he said it.”
He then went off on a long takedown of the Affordable Care Act. He said President Barack Obama should apologize for it and that Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton would make it even worse.
Trump also gave a shoutout to Republican billionaire Sheldon Adelson, whose family purchased the Las Vegas Review-Journal in December.
“The majority of the counties in your state have only one insurer to choose from. Did you read that this morning in your good paper, owned by a great guy — Sheldon — Sheldon Adelson — and a great supporter of Israel, Sheldon Adelson?” Trump said.
He dismissed the rest of the media as dishonest, complaining how the news cameras never pan to show the size of his crowds. (Meanwhile, an NBC reporter pointed out on Twitter that, prior to the speech, campaign aides had instructed one of the television cameras to get a tight shot of Trump as to cut the teleprompters from view.)
Trump also invited members of the Remembrance Project on stage to share their stories about family members who were killed by unauthorized immigrants. One of the women tearfully asked members of the audience to recruit their friends to vote for Trump.
Republican Assemblyman Chris Edwards, state GOP Chairman Michael McDonald and Las Vegas media personality Wayne Allyn Root all spoke in support of Trump at the rally.
Republican congressional candidate Danny Tarkanian has previously spoken at Trump campaign rallies, but neither he nor U.S. Senate candidate Joe Heck nor Republican Rep. Cresent Hardy were at today’s rally.
Earlier in the day, Trump visited a local Christian school and a church near Summerlin, where he met with a group of pastors. Trump’s traveling press corps was there, but local media were not invited.
Trump met with 220 students at the International Christian Academy. He was invited by Pastor Pasqual Urrabazo, whom Trump met with earlier this summer at a Hispanics roundtable, according to a tweet from Bloomberg reporter Jennifer Jacobs.
The church is led by Pastor Marc Goulet, former Nevada state chairman for Ben Carson’s presidential campaign.
“I think he comes across as a hardliner, but he’s more of a pragmatist,” Goulet said, according to a tweet from Jacobs.
Trump then met with a group of about 70 local pastors, touching on a host of issues from the Affordable Care Act to his relationship with Hispanic voters.
“A lot of people that are here legally are coming up and thanking me — Latinos — they’re thanking me because they don’t want their jobs taken and they don’t want lots of other things to happen,” Trump told the group, according to a tweet from CNN reporter Sopan Deb. “So, I want to thank the Latinos in the room.”
Trump will travel to Northern Nevada this afternoon for a rally in Reno.
Trump and Clinton will return to Las Vegas in two weeks for the final presidential debate at UNLV.