Trump Stumps in Las Vegas, Focusing on Law and Order in an Attempt at Party Unification – Opinion

On Friday, former President Donald Trump made a Save America PAC campaign stop at Treasure Island Hotel in Las Vegas to stump for Nevada’s Republican candidates. The focus of the event’s roundtable, followed by a more traditional Trump rally speech, was the promotion of both Adam Laxalt, former Nevada Attorney General, who’s challenging Catherine Cortez Masto (D) in the Senate, and Joe Lombardo, the current Clark County Sheriff, who’s aiming to unseat Steve Sisolak (D) in the Governor’s race.

The theme was law and order, a pivot from the former President’s usual election integrity messaging. Strategic, because Sheriff Lombardo (and Governor Sisolak) have been sparring on social media about local crime rates.

There seems to be a more nuanced reason not only for the short notice and invite-only stop, announced just 72 hours earlier, but also for the “Back the Blue” mantras: a faction of the party’s base is raising election integrity concerns over the June 14th primary, i.e., the crowd that supported Lombardo’s grassroots primary opponent, Joey Gilbert.

A few dozen Gilbert supporters demonstrated near the hotel Friday after Gilbert encouraged them to “express their opinions,” in a podcast leading up to the event. Gilbert, General Michael Flynn and Gilbert were present at the Reawaken America Virginia event Friday. Gilbert responded to RedState with a statement.

“We fix our elections and we fix everything. This is a call to action to save our Constitutional Republic and defend our God-given rights.”

It’s important to note that Gilbert has not conceded the race against Lombardo, and speaks of contesting the election results through litigation.

By keeping his message centered on public safety and America First policies Trump had his finger on the party’s pulse, using the campaign stop to signal to Republican loyalists to shift their focus from contesting the state’s primary election results to achieving GOP wins in November.

After a bitter closed primary, party unification was sought after what was perceived as an establishment or grassroots campaign in each of the top-of-the ticket races. These races were widely considered winnable by Republicans and are toss-ups for Nevada. For disgruntled Nevada Republicans, the event’s message was clear: “Get on board with the candidates, or don’t come.”

It was not true. However, it was proven when Clark County Republican Party district G Trustee Natalie Thomas received an invitation and was then uninvited. Her uninviting was due to a post on social media in which she criticized Sheriff Lombardo and Governor Sisolak for closing pandemic-related businesses.

RedState gets to know Thomas

“I want to take what Chairman McDonald said to heart, which was ‘unity by accountability.’ Being uninvited sends a very confusing message in the wake of trying to unify the party.”

Thomas has a sense of humor about it all, though, calling the episode “hilarious.”

Joe Lombardo received a warm reception from the crowd Friday, saying it was “nice to finally be in a room of friends,” while the attendees seemed to agree with the sentiment. Except for the absence of the Pledge, National Anthem and opening prayer that they were used to hearing, the attendees had other ceremonial takeaways at the end of the event.

Local political podcast host of the “Johnny Bru Show,” John Bruchhagen. said:

“If Joe Lombardo wants to unite the party, he’s going to have to reach out to local grassroots conservatives by going on local shows, not just ride the coattails of Donald Trump and longtime friend, Nevada GOP Chairman Michael McDonald‘s endorsments. Today was a step in the right direction.”

Rob Kafka, also in attendance, noted, “This is the best and most I’ve ever seen of Joe Lombardo and I’d like to see more.”

Watch Trump’s full remarks below.

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