Donald Trump Jr. visited Las Vegas on Friday night for a campaign rally with U.S. Senate candidate Adam Laxalt and Clark County Sheriff and governor candidate Joe Lombardo.
The 2020 election and attacks on President Joe Biden took center stage, as speakers falsely claimed that the previous Nevada election was “rigged” and spoke highly of Laxalt’s efforts to contest it.
Laxalt, a former state attorney general, is facing Sam Brown and others in the Republican primary to face Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto. Laxalt is viewed as the front-runner in the primary race, but Brown has gained ground in recent polls.
Laxalt notably backed efforts to de-certify the 2020 election results in Nevada while working for the Trump campaign. While he distanced himself from those beliefs in a debate with Brown last month and did not mention them in his speech Friday, Laxalt is inexorably tied to to effort to upset the election which opponents call “The Big Lie.” His stage mate, Trump Jr., has also repeatedly pushed those false claims.
Laxalt focused his attacks on Biden, highlighting recent inflation data and rising gasoline prices in the state.
“This country has gone the wrong way since Donald J. Trump was president,” Laxalt said.
He also ran down a list of popular conservative talking points, deriding the Black Lives Matter movement and a recent assassination attempt on Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, as well as bringing up immigration issues.
Conservative lobbyist Matt Schlapp was one speaker who repeated the false election conspiracy claims.
“I saw how they tried to take your votes,” he said.
Lombardo began his speech by deriding audience members who jeered him and chanted in support of opponent Joey Gilbert, saying they “don’t move the party forward.” The Gilbert supporters were asked to leave. Lombardo has been confident about his chances in the Tuesday primary, even saying in a debate last month that “this primary is over.”
Lombardo left the event early to attend to the family of a Metropolitan Police Department detective who was killed in a crash Friday morning.
The sheriff is the leading candidate in the Republican primary for governor. He faces Reno attorney Gilbert, former Sen. Dean Heller and North Las Vegas Mayor John Lee, among a slate of other candidates.
Trump Jr. also focused his speech on Biden, calling him an “idiot” and following previous speakers in talking about inflation as well as the U.S. military’s exit from Afghanistan. He also railed against gun control proposals and attacked trans rights as well as the Black Lives Matter movement.
He said that the arrests made during the Jan. 6 insurrection aren’t legitimate and that what happened wasn’t actually an insurrection.
“If your grandmother was within 500 miles of Washington, D.C., and took a selfie, she was questioned by the FBI,” Trump Jr. said. “If she was within 100 miles, she’s probably still in prison.”
Trump Jr. last visited Las Vegas in October 2020 to campaign for his father’s re-election.
Trump administration officials Ric Grenell and Matt Whitaker as well as Nevada Republicans chair Michael McDonald also spoke at the event.
Contact Nick Robertson at NRobertson@reviewjournal.com. Follow @NickRobertsonSU.