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December 10, 2018

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In Las Vegas, President Trump pleads for voters to back Heller, Tarkanian

0920Trump04

Steve Marcus

President Donald Trump embraces Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., during a rally at the Las Vegas Convention Center Thursday, Sept. 20, 2018.

Updated Thursday, Sept. 20, 2018 | 8:31 p.m.

Trump MAGA Rally at LVCC

A Trump supporter wears a Launch slideshow »

Protesters & Supporters Gather Outside Trump Rally

Protesters gather outside the Las Vegas Convention Center during a Trump MAGA rally, Thursday, Sept. 20, 2018. Launch slideshow »
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An overflow crowd is seen outside the Las Vegas Convention Center, which hosted a rally with President Donald Trump Thursday, Sept. 20, 2018.

President Trump Arrives in Las Vegas

Secret Service Agents provide security as President Trump arrives at McCarran International Airport Thursday Sept. 20, 2018. Launch slideshow »

President Donald Trump spoke for more than one hour tonight at the Las Vegas Convention Center, listing what he considered his best accomplishments to supporters and urging them continue their backing at the polls.

Las Vegas, where more Democrats are registered to vote than Republicans, and where Hillary Clinton beat Trump in the 2016 election, is vitally important in the November election.

Sen. Dean Heller is considered the most vulnerable of all incumbents up for reelection, cuing a visit from Trump to rally support in the race against Jacky Rosen with hopes of keeping the GOP in control of the Senate.

“We need to do something special,” he said.

While the packed crowd on the inside cheered repeatedly, that was far from the case on the outside. Protest groups lined the street to show their displeasure with how Trump is running the country.

One detractor chanted, “We believe women, we believe women.” That was in response to Trump’s Supreme Court pick Brett Kavanaugh, who last week was accused of a sexual-assault decades ago.

Trump stuck to his America-first mantra, proclaiming “I am the president of the United States. I am not the president of the globe.”

He bragged about the strides of the economy, noting minority groups are enjoying record employment and telling those demographics to vote for Republicans because, “What do you have to lose?”

Along the way, he took plenty of stabs at Democrats, saying they want to “double and triple your taxes.” He also said Democrats want to open borders, which would “equal massive crimes in our country.”

He promised to make the country stronger than ever before. And richer and wealthier, too.

“We aren’t going to apologize to other countries for our great success,” he said. “You now have a president who is standing up for America. We are standing up for our great values. We are standing up for Nevada.”

Many times throughout the speech, he pleaded for Nevadans to vote for Heller and Danny Tarkanian, who is running for the House.

“Remember Danny and Dean. You have to go vote. We are going to take this country,” he said. “...We need every Nevada patriot to go out and vote.”

— Ray Brewer

Trump affirms need for border wall

President Donald Trump’s Las Vegas speech quickly shifted to immigration tonight, saying “we can knock out that wall in one year if you give us the funds.”

He followed by saying that it will be a lot easier to construct a border wall if “we get Republicans in there.”

Earlier Trump promised that he wouldn’t “allow the United States of America to become the next Venezuela. That is what (the Democrats) want.”

That brought on chants of, “Build that wall, build that wall,” from supporters.

— Ray Brewer

Overflow crowd watches from the outside

As Trump's speech began, a huge overflow crowd stood outside and watched the video feed on a screen outside the convention center. Reportedly, the crowd inside was capped at 7,500.

— Ric Anderson

Trump opens Las Vegas speech with nod to Nevadans

President Donald Trump has started his speech in Las Vegas, telling a group of mostly Republican supporters at the Las Vegas Convention Center that “the people of Nevada love our country” and “America is winning again.”

“How is everybody? We love Las Vegas. I am thrilled to be back in Nevada,” Trump opened, as supporters passionately chanted, “USA, USA.”

Trump continued by listing his accomplishments, noting the stock market is at a high and that his administration is taking care of veterans “for the first time in a long time.”

The crowd wasn’t as friendly outside, where multiple groups took to the street to protest, including one which chanted, “We believe women, we believe women.” That was in response to Trump’s Supreme Court pick Brett Kavanaugh, who last week was accused of a sexual-assault decades ago.

Trump is in town to drum up support for the upcoming general election, hoping to get Sen. Dean Heller elected for another term, and a spot in the House for Danny Tarkanian.

“We are going to get you in. Vote Tarkanian,” he said.

As for Heller’s opponent, Rep. Jacky Rosen, he said, “Wacky Jacky will never vote for us.”

— Ray Brewer

Giunchigliani among host of protesters outside Trump rally

Gathered around cardboard cutouts of Adam Laxalt and Dean Heller fixed with signs saying “Trump’s rubber stamp” (Heller) and “Bought and paid for” (Laxalt), several dozen protesters chanted and waved signs outside the Convention Center.

The crowd included Clark County Commissioner Chris Giunchigliani. A line of Trump supporters filed past the protesters shortly after 7 p.m., prompting some back-and-forth taunting but no confrontations.

— Ric Anderson

Many Californians make trip to see Trump at rally

Nearly a third of interviewed attendees in line to enter Donald Trump’s rally are from California, here to witness “a rare” happening.

“You never see this where we live,” said Larry Cartwright, who took work off and drove four hours from Los Angeles to attend Trump’s speech.

Hernan Gomez, one of few Latin Americans in the crowd, says Trump is “all for us,” referring to the Latino demographic.

“Most of this has been blown out of proportion by the fake news media,” Gomez said.

— Chris Kudialis

Trump backer waiting for Vegas rally to 'support my man'

Rally attendee Gina Zito, a 49-year-old Las Vegas resident, said she had been in line since about 1:30 p.m. to attend her first Trump rally because she had to “support my man.” She said she’s supportive of just about all of Trump’s policies, especially his proposed border wall with Mexico and GOP tax reform. She said used to be a Democrat and became a Republican about 15 years ago.

“I was raised in a Democrat household, so I thought that was just the way I had to be until I got out on my own,” she said. “Start paying your own bills and working and then you start realizing what really means something to you.”

Riverside County, Calif., resident Sharon Carey, a 66-year-old lifelong Republican who has been to four Trump rallies before, said she supports Trump’s proposed border wall as well as his economic policies. Standing in line about 15 minutes after the doors opened at 4 p.m., Carey said she had been in line for about an hour as she was approaching the venue’s front door. She said she goes to every Trump rally she can because “they’re a blast.”

“It’s Vegas and Trump, I mean how could you say no,” Carey said. “ … I just like how he’s making the country strong again.”

— Yvonne Gonzalez

Las Vegas readies for Trump visit; crowd already forming at convention center

About four hours before the President Trump’s Las Vegas rally begins, more than 400 people are already lined up outside the Las Vegas Convention Center.

Red “Make America Great Again” hats are aplenty in this crowd of eager Trump supporters. A secret service vehicle, parked in the convention center’s parking lot, discreetly patrols an otherwise mellow crowd.

There appears to be more pickup trucks in the crowd in comparison to most days at the venue, which typically hosts business meetings and conferences. The crowd cheers and whistles as a white pickup truck drives by with a large “Trump 2020” flag waving from its bed.

Conversations about healthcare, immigration and the looming vote on judicial nominee Brett Kavanaugh can be heard in the line. MAGA hat-wearing volunteers ask those in line if they’re registered to vote, and offer to sign them up if they’re not registered. Secret Service employees walk up and down the line as well.

— Chris Kudialis

Trump hotel in Las Vegas under tight security

Five Metro Police SUVs blocked the self-park and delivery entrances of the Trump International in Las Vegas, where President Trump is expected to stay tonight after rallying supporters at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

Hotel attendants, who are dressed in matching black polo shirts and black shorts, greet drivers pulling up to the hotel. They ask for a room number.

“It’s guests only today,” the attendant says. “If you don’t have a room key you need to loop around and exit.”

Asked if the policy was related to the president’s visit, the attendants offered “it’s just what we’ve been told for today.”

Trump is expected to land in Las Vegas at 6 p.m. The rally begins at 7.

— Chris Kudialis

Rosen raps Heller over Supreme Court 'hiccup' comment

Democratic Rep. Jacky Rosen is criticizing Nevada Sen. Dean Heller, her Republican opponent in November's Senate race, over Heller's reported comments on controversial Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

The Nevada Independent and The New York Times reported that Heller described the furor over sexual assault allegations involving Kavanaugh from when he was in high school as a "hiccup" and that the judge would ultimately be confirmed. Heller was speaking Wednesday evening on a conference call arranged by the state GOP.

In a Tweet Rosen said: "Unbelievable: Senator Heller just dismissed a credible sexual assault allegation as a 'hiccup."

Heller, in a statement Thursday, said he was referring to Senate Democrats' actions and that he does "not believe sexual assault allegations of any kind are a hiccup."

Associated Press

Trump visit to Las Vegas will bring out passion from detractors, supporters

Las Vegas is familiar territory to President Donald Trump, who owns a luxury hotel here and is visiting the state today for the 14th time since 2015. But his reception tonight might be his coolest yet.

In town to stump for Republicans Dean Heller, who is facing a stern test to hold onto his Senate seat, and Danny Tarkanian, who is running for an open congressional seat, Trump is likely to encounter protesters who are upset by allegations that his nominee for the Supreme Court engaged in sexual misconduct three decades ago.

“These allegations by Dr. Christine Ford further disqualify Brett Kavanaugh, and it is crystal clear that he should not be confirmed to the Supreme Court,” said Lindsey Harmon, executive director of Nevada Advocates for Planned Parenthood.

Of course, Trump has his loyal base, and they’ll be out in full force for his rally at 7 p.m. at the Las Vegas Convention Center. Progressive groups are planning a counterrally near the event, picking up where they left off Wednesday in a public demonstration against Trump.

In a critical election swing state, Trump’s trip to Las Vegas comes with urgency. Republicans trail in active voter registrations in Nevada by more than 68,000, according to August numbers from the Secretary of State’s Office.

Heller, who faces Democratic Rep. Jacky Rosen in the general election, could be considered the most vulnerable because he is the only Republican senator seeking reelection in a state won by Hillary Clinton in 2016.

Republicans hold 236 seats in the House, Democrats carry 193, and there are six vacancies. In the Senate, the GOP has 51 seats, Democrats hold 47, and Independents carry two.

“It’s no secret that the future control of the Senate and the House runs through Nevada,” and Trump knows that, said Nevada Democratic Party spokeswoman Helen Kalla.

Tarkanian, 3rd Congressional District candidate running against Democrat Susie Lee, said in a campaign email that he will be delivering remarks at the event. After speaking with Trump earlier this year, Tarkanian left his primary against GOP incumbent Sen. Dean Heller to join the race against Lee.

“Having President Trump here again will not only generate even more momentum for our party, it will also drive voter registration and turnout,” said Keelie Broom, Republican National Committee Nevada spokeswoman, in a statement.

— Yvonne Gonzalez

The Associated Press contributed to this report.