President Trump and his campaign are defending his right to hold rallies indoors, despite the private unease of aides who called the practice a game of political Russian roulette and growing concern that such gatherings could prolong the pandemic.
“I’m on a stage, and it’s very far away,” Mr. Trump told The Las Vegas Review-Journal, as thousands of his supporters gathered on Sunday night inside a manufacturing plant in a Las Vegas suburb, flouting a state directive limiting indoor gatherings to 50 people.
The president did not address health concerns about rally attendees, few of whom wore masks or socially distanced. When it came to his own safety, he said, “I’m not at all concerned.”
The decision to hold a rally indoors, officials said, came after failed attempts to procure five different outdoor locations. A Trump campaign official said they all faced pressure from state officials not to host the rally.
Xtreme Manufacturing, which finally agreed to host, immediately faced threats from the city of Henderson, Nev. Officials said in a letter made public that the city could charge a fine of $500 for every person over the state’s limit of 50 people and suspend or revoke Xtreme Manufacturing’s business license.
Mr. Trump had been defiant during the rally. “If the governor comes after you, which he shouldn’t be doing, I’ll be with you all the way,” he told the crowd.