Former President Donald J. Trump, who has been eager for months to focus on a possible showdown between himself and President Joe Biden in November, previewed a possible general election message on Saturday, mainly at an event in Nevada. Attacked Biden, which was a critical event. Battlefield status.
Further proof of Nevada’s importance can be seen a mile away, with Vice President Kamala Harris casting Mr. Trump’s fight as a battle for democracy should he go through with the nomination.
Although Trump’s visit to Las Vegas was ostensibly to encourage his supporters to attend the Nevada caucuses on February 8, much of his speech was devoted to Biden’s handling of the surge in border crossings at the southern border way, he called it “a weapon of mass destruction” to destroy America from within.
Trump currently faces four criminal cases, which he views without evidence as an attempt by Biden to steal the election from him, using the language of the justice system to suit his purposes.
“What Joe Biden did was a crime against our country,” Trump said. He later added: “Through your vote, the American people will try and convict him for the atrocities he committed.”
Saturday’s speech was in many ways a homecoming, a month after Trump stepped up his attacks on his Republican presidential primary opponents with decisive victories in Iowa and New Hampshire.
Mr Trump now appears to be moving toward a general election, but he is not yet the party’s nominee, and his only remaining rival for the nomination, Nikki Haley, Every effort is being made to remind him She still competes.
Mr Trump’s supporters said on Saturday that while Ms Haley was still in the race, they had largely moved beyond the Republican race. “It’s like Kenny Rogers songs – you need to know when to give them up,” said 74-year-old Joe Sandoval. “I don’t think she cares about him at all right now.”
Trump and his team are preparing to take on Haley on February 24 in her home state of South Carolina, the site of their next election battle. The former president gave her a sharp look Saturday, largely accusing her of betraying Republican ideals and her conservative roots.
“Nikki Haley made a corrupt deal, sold out to the radical left, and took money from the Democratic Party from donors,” Mr. Trump said.
But Trump’s victory in the Nevada caucuses is a foregone conclusion. Ms. Haley is on the ballot for the Feb. 6 presidential primary, which will not count toward the Republican nomination, so she will skip the state entirely. Determining who gets the state representative award – with Mr. Trump at the center stage – has no major rival.
Jeremy Gelman, associate professor of political science at the University of Nevada, Reno, said: “Nevada will definitely be a good opportunity for Trump to send a message because he will win the support of all the representatives here and he will be unopposed. Next win.” You could say he took Nevada by storm. “
Still, people in attendance at Trump’s speech at Major League Baseball’s Dream Sports Park in Las Vegas admitted they were a little confused about the duel, and Trump addressed the issue.
“Don’t worry about the primaries, just go to the caucuses,” Trump told his supporters.
Later, he delivered a more mixed message: “Don’t waste your time on the primaries,” he said, “waste all your time on the caucuses.”
Whether intentional or not, his rhetoric echoed what longtime front-runner Trump has been saying about the primary for months: that it was a distraction that hindered his fight against Biden.
On Saturday, Mr. Trump attacked a bipartisan immigration deal backed by Mr. Biden, saying it was “not designed to stop illegal immigration.” Mr. Trump has been urging Republican senators to oppose the deal, telling them in his speech to “blame “I” if failed.
He has also expressed interest in courting Latino voters, a key constituency in Nevada and an important part of the Democratic coalition. Polls show Trump has won their support.
Trump accused Biden of “devastating the Latino community” economically and said Latinos were “better” economically under his administration.
He also said Black and Latino voters are “the most impacted by what’s happening at our border,” without providing specific details.
Both parties are looking ahead to November: Outside Mr. Trump’s event, the Democratic National Committee flew a plane with a banner reading “Donald Trump: Ban abortion, punish women.” The party is expected to Abortion will be a central issue in November.
A mile away, Vice President Harris’ event felt like an alternative universe, with some voters wearing masks and expressing support for gun control while an Olivia Rodrigo song played and a local dance group performed.
Ms. Harris outraged the crowd as she rattled off a list of the administration’s accomplishments and suggested they stood in stark contrast to Mr. Trump’s priorities.
“In his comments today, he made it clear, as always, that his fight is not for the people. His fight is for himself,” she said as hundreds of people booed.
“Freedom is on the ballot, our democracy is on the ballot. This is about representing the country we want to live in,” Ms Harris said.
Sara Diss, 74, said she would vote to re-elect Mr Biden and Ms Harris. “I want someone who can protect democracy,” she said. “Trump, he’s here for revenge.”
Still, even in an event designed to excite the Democratic faithful, some voters acknowledged misgivings.
Daphne Silva, 25, said she has always voted Democratic, including for Biden in 2020, and plans to vote for him again in November.
But, she added, “I’m a little hesitant based on what he did during the war.” She said she hoped he would be more critical of aid to Israel and that Democrats had fielded a broader slate of candidates. for voters to choose.
“I wish there were more options,” Ms. Silva said, “but I think it’s too late.”