Politics

Trump complains about his teleprompters at a scorching Las Vegas rally

LAS VEGAS — (AP) — Former President Donald Trump rallied voters in the scorching heat of Las Vegas, at points telling his supporters to ask for help if needed and appearing irritable with the teleprompters that he said were not working.

The presumptive GOP nominee's campaign hired extra medics, loading up on fans and water bottles and allowed supporters to carry umbrellas to an outdoor rally Sunday in Las Vegas, where temperatures exceeded 100 degrees Fahrenheit (37.8 degrees Celsius). The Clark County Fire Department said most of the medical calls were related to the heat, and six people were sent to a hospital and 24 others were treated on site.

“I don’t want anybody going on me. We need every voter. I don’t care about you. I just want your vote,” he said, adding that he was joking.

Earlier in his speech, he said the campaign would offer help to people who were feeling tired and joked that “everybody,” including the U.S. Secret Service, was worried about the safety of the crowds and not about him.

“They never mentioned me. I’m up here sweating like a dog,” he said. “This is hard work.”

Trump returned to Nevada, one of the top battleground states in the November election, for his second rally since he was found guilty in a hush-money scandal.

The unprecedented conviction of a former president has juiced Trump's fundraising and galvanized his supporters, but it remains to be seen whether it will sway swing voters. Trump is scheduled to be interviewed by New York probation officials via a video conference Monday, a required step before his July sentencing.

Temperatures in the Southwest have cooled since reaching historic highs late last week but remain above normal for this time of year and topped 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius) at the rally, which took place at a park with little shade next to the airport.

Well into his speech, Trump said it was “not as bad” as he thought it would be, and said he was angrier with the teleprompters not working well, even when he used to mock President Barack Obama for relying on that device.

“I pay all this money to teleprompter people, and I’d say 20% of the time, they don't work,” he said, adding he would not pay the vendor who provided the prompters. “It's a mess.”

Campaign organizers handed out water bottles as supporters waited in line to be screened by security officers. Inside the venue, large misting fans, pallets of water and cooling tents were placed around the perimeter.

“This is a dry heat. This ain't nothing for Las Vegas people,” Nevada GOP Chair Michael McDonald said. “But what it symbolizes for the rest of the United States — we will walk through hell" to elect Donald Trump.

McDonald and five other Republicans have been accused of submitting certificates to Congress falsely declaring Trump the winner of Nevada's 2020 presidential election and their trial has been pushed to next year.

Trump said the rioters who stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021 to contest the election were “victims” of a “set up.”

“They were really, more than anything else, they are victims of what happened. All they were doing is protesting a rigged election. That’s what they were doing. And then the police say, go in, go in, go in, go in,” he said. “What a set up that was. A horrible, horrible thing.”

The conspiracy theory that the Jan. 6 rioters were encouraged by law enforcement is widespread on the right but has no basis in fact. Many of those who were at the Capitol on Jan. 6 have said — proudly, publicly, repeatedly — that they did so to help the then-president.

Federal and state election officials and Trump’s own attorney general have said there is no credible evidence the 2020 election was tainted. The former president’s allegations of fraud were also roundly rejected by courts, including by judges Trump appointed.

The campaign paid for additional EMS services to be on site in the case of emergency. The Secret Service made an exception to allow people to bring in personal water bottles and umbrellas.

"You know what? It’s worth it,” said Camille Lombardi, a 65-year-old retired nurse from Henderson in suburban Las Vegas who was seeing Trump in person for the first time. “Too bad it wasn’t indoors, but that’s OK.”

During a Trump rally in Arizona on Thursday, the Phoenix Police Department said 11 people were transported to hospitals, treated and released for heat exhaustion. Many of Trump's supporters waited in line for hours and some were unable to get inside before the venue reached capacity. The temperature reached a record 113 degrees Fahrenheit (45 degrees Celsius) that day.

Trump's Nevada rally, his third in the state this year, came on the tail end of a Western swing that included several high-dollar fundraisers where he was expected to rake in millions of dollars.

Democrat Hillary Clinton won Nevada in 2016 as did President Joe Biden in 2020, but Nevada was the only battleground state where Trump did better against Biden than Clinton. In the 2022 midterms, Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak, a Democrat, was the only incumbent governor who did not win reelection.

Trump hopes his strength among working-class voters and growing interest from Latinos will push him to victory in the state.

In a play for Nevada's massive service-sector workforce, Trump said he'd seek to eliminate taxes on tips, a major source of income for food servers, bartenders and others who power glitzy Las Vegas hotels.

The Culinary Union Secretary-Treasurer Ted Pappageorge criticized Trump for making that promise, a measure he said the union has fought for decades.

“Relief is definitely needed for tip earners, but Nevada workers are smart enough to know the difference between real solutions and wild campaign promises from a convicted felon,” he said in a statement.

Trump's campaign announced a renewed push for Hispanic voters ahead of the event with a Latino Americans for Trump Coalition. Four of the speakers who warmed up the crowd before Trump took the stage were Hispanic immigrants. _____

Gomez Licon reported from Miami.

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