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Donald Trump Jr. Rallies In Sparks, Attacks California and Democrats

There is a man on a stage with a large American flag behind him hoisted up by a crane on each side. There is a crowd of about 100 people in front of him.
Lucia Starbuck
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KUNR Public Radio
Donald Trump Jr. speaking to the crowd at his campaign rally for President Donald Trump in Sparks, Nev., on Wednesday, Sept. 30.

Donald Trump Jr. held an in-person rally in Sparks on Wednesday, less than 24 hours after the first presidential debate of the 2020 campaign.

About a couple hundred mostly maskless people gathered outside in the smoke-filled air to see the president’s son. Trump Jr. spent his time boasting about the economy under Trump, along with attacking former Vice President Joe Biden for his policy decisions in the past.

There is a man and woman in a blue dress on stage with a large American flag behind them hoisted up by a crane on each side.
Credit Lucia Starbuck / KUNR Public Radio
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KUNR Public Radio
Kimberly Guilfoyle (Left) and Donald Trump Jr. (Right) at Trump Jr.'s campaign rally for President Donald Trump in Sparks, Nev., on Wednesday, Sept. 30.

Trump Jr.’s girlfriend, Kimberly Guilfoyle, a top Trump campaign official, criticized California for its left-leaning politics and helped energize the crowd in support of Trump.

“We need him. America deserves him behind the wheel,” Guilfoyle said, “We don’t need these left-leaning states, like my goodness, your neighbor over there in California. What is going on?”

Trump Jr. shared that sentiment, complimenting Nevada in one of his opening lines.

“Oh, it’s so much better here than to your neighbor to the West.” Trump Jr. said.

Nevada has a Democratic governor and has gone blue in the last three presidential elections. But many Trump supporters say they're hoping to flip the state this election, including 18-year-old Miki Cutter who will be casting her ballot for the first time in November.

Two women, one is wearing a camouflage baseball cap that says, “Trump 2020,” and the other has a shirt that says, “Trump Pence,” with “Baby Yoda” on it.
Credit Lucia Starbuck / KUNR Public Radio
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KUNR Public Radio
Felicia Norder, 21 (Left) and Miki Cutter, 18 (Right) at Donald Trump Jr.’s campaign rally for President Donald Trump in Sparks, Nev., on Wednesday, Sept. 30. They will both be voting for the first time in the 2020 election.

“I’m excited to have the right to voice my opinion for who I want to lead the country as well as millions of others who I know are voting for Trump,” Cutter said.

One issue important to Cutter is LGBTQ+ rights, and she’s happy with what the president has done so far, including the appointment of an openly gay man Richard Grenell as the acting director of national intelligence.

“I like the actions he’s taken to help push forward the LGBTQ community,” Cutter said, “I feel like the concept that Trump supporters are homophobic is very false because I'm gay.”

For Cutter, she says she hopes to break that stereotype and she plans on casting her vote in person on Election Day.

Four people are standing in the forefront. Two people are recording the stage and the American flag on their phones. There are people seated in front of them.
Credit Lucia Starbuck / KUNR Public Radio
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KUNR Public Radio
Part of the crowd at Donald Trump Jr.'s campaign rally for President Donald Trump in Sparks, Nev., on Wednesday, Sept. 30.

The rally occurred the same day that Health District Officer Kevin Dick reported Washoe County’s test positivity rate as being the highest in the state, even surpassing Clark County. Dick told reporters now is not the time for large gatherings.

“I am concerned about the rally,” Dick said, “I know that the City of Sparks has tried to do their best on some controls and measures to help the spread of the disease.”

While the event was outdoors, most attendees did not wear facial coverings.

Democratic State Senator Julia Ratti, whose senate district includes Sparks, blasted the Trump campaign in a statement, calling the event out-of-touch, and saying it endangered the lives of Nevadans.

Lucia Starbuck is a corps member with Report for America, an initiative of the GroundTruth Project.

KUNR's Jayden Perez contributed to this story.

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Lucia Starbuck is a corps member with Report for America focusing on community reporting and the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Local community issues are her passion, including the affordable housing crisis, homelessness, a lack of access to healthcare, protests and challenges facing vulnerable communities in northern Nevada.
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