President Donald Trump’s stop at the Nevada Republican Party’s convention Saturday marks an aggressive push by the GOP to protect its majority in Washington by winning key races in the battleground state.
It also marks the “biggest day” of the state GOP leader Greg Bailor’s career.
“It’s an honor to have a sitting Republican president visit any of our political parties,” said Bailor, the party’s executive director of three years. “I’m very honored to have the president visit my home state. It’s a big day for me and for our staff.”
Trump will land at McCarran International Airport at 10:50 a.m. Saturday before heading to the Suncoast for the GOP state convention. The president will attend a private fundraiser for U.S. Sen. Dean Heller — who faces the re-election battle of his career against Democratic Rep. Jacky Rosen — before addressing party delegates at noon.
Traffic could be snarled around the 215 Beltway and along Interstate 15 on Saturday, transportation officials said.
Trump’s 45-minute speech is expected to stress the significance of Republicans winning hotly contested Nevada congressional races on the November ballot, including the faceoff between Heller and Rosen.
“I imagine he’ll talk about the importance of our Senate race here in Nevada and what it means to keep the Republican majority in the House and Senate and keeping the governor’s office,” Bailor said.
Tax reform discussion
After his keynote address, Trump and his motorcade will head to the South Point, where he’ll host a roundtable discussion about tax reform. The 45-minute conversation includes 11 participants from the administration as well as business and political leaders.
White House officials said during a conference call Friday that the roundtable will feature U.S. Secretary of Labor Alex Acosta, Heller and Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt. The president will highlight tax cut-related success stories from residents and prominent business owners.
South Point executives are expected to credit the GOP tax bill for bonuses given to more than 300 employees, White House officials said, while casino developers will discuss how the legislation spurred construction on the stalled Fontainebleau casino project, now The Drew Las Vegas.
“The project went bankrupt in 2009, but a group of constructors jump-started construction of this project due to President Trump’s tax cuts,” said Brian Jack, deputy White House political director. “And local Nevada residents will discuss how they’re personally benefiting from the president’s enactment of tax cuts.”
Gov. Brian Sandoval won’t attend any of the Trump events in Las Vegas because he’s on a trade mission in Spain, said spokeswoman Mary-Sarah Skinner.
Trump’s administration faces scrutiny over a “zero tolerance” policy that’s led to child separations at the U.S.-Mexico border. About 400 people from nine statewide civil rights groups will protest Trump in front of the Suncoast on Saturday morning.
“The problem at the border was created by the Trump administration and Congress’ inaction to do anything about immigration reform — and Dean Heller is part of that problem,” said Cyndy Hernandez, an organizer with NARAL Pro-Choice Nevada, one of the organizations that will protest.
Alyssa Cortes, a regional organizing lead with the Human Rights Commission, said she expects the protest to remain peaceful, but she wants to ensure Trump gets the message.
“We’ll always stand with any community under attack,” she said.