Trump holds campaign rally indoors despite COVID-19 concerns

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The president’s campaign portrayed the rally at a large warehouse in Henderson as an opportunity for supporters to exercise their rights to peaceful assembly under the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment.

“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,” spokesman Tim Murtaugh said in a statement.

Participants were to have temperatures taken before entry and be given a mask they would be encouraged to wear, the campaign said.

“I think we’re relatively safe here. I brought a mask but I haven’t felt the need to wear it,” said Ronda Livingston, 64. “I’m not worried about it.”

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Trump, who is trailing Biden in national polls and in Nevada, has stepped up the frequency of his rallies in recent weeks, but has held most of them at outdoor venues or in large open airplane hangars to help minimize risk.

Biden has criticized Trump sharply for his response to the virus and promised a comprehensive strategy to fight the pandemic if he succeeds Trump in the White House.

Trump is in the middle of a western swing that will include a campaign stop in Arizona and a visit to California on Monday to be briefed about the wildfires devastating the west coast.

Trump has knocked Biden for doing fewer events and travelling less than he in the run-up to the Nov. 3 election.