President Donald Trump’s Sunday rally was so “dangerous” that King Steve Sisolak now thinks it’s safe to reopen Clark County bars. It’s good that kings aren’t bound by things such as consistency.
On Thursday, the governor’s coronavirus task force approved reopening Clark County bars on Monday. Based on the data, it was an easy decision. Clark County has more than 4,600 licensed hospital beds. Fewer than 420 people were hospitalized with coronavirus as of Thursday. There are more than 1,000 empty beds. The situation is similar in intensive care. The number of empty ICU beds is almost double the number filled with coronavirus patients.
By the original standard — flatten the curve to prevent hospitals from being overwhelmed — that’s reason enough to reopen. But there’s more. Clark County’s cases and positivity rate have dropped dramatically in the past month. Things are looking so good that King Sisolak is still begging people to get tested.
But he had a different tone earlier this week. He called Trump’s two massive rallies “shameful” and “dangerous.”
“Trump is taking reckless and selfish actions that are putting countless lives in danger here in Nevada,” His Highness said on Sunday. King Sisolak was more upset about Nevadans exercising their First Amendment rights than he was when someone at a Black Lives Matter protest shot a Metro officer. In that case, all he could publicly muster was that “there is no place for this behavior in Nevada.”
Trump’s rallies are “a direct threat to all of the recent progress we’ve made and could potentially set us back,” His Eminence bellowed. Those gatherings set Nevada back so far that King Sisolak is reopening bars.
After seven months, the governor still hasn’t fixed Nevada’s broken unemployment system. That didn’t stop him from finding the time to go on national cable shows to attack Trump. Don’t expect another round of similar interviews to explain that things are now good enough to reopen bars.
At Thursday’s meeting, Clark County Commission Chairwoman Marilyn Kirkpatrick further undercut King Sisolak’s hyperbole. She asked the task force to allow churches and conventions to operate at 50 percent capacity. She also wanted youth sports to resume. In its report to the task force, Clark County detailed the efforts businesses and organizations have made to abide by safety protocols. The report also discussed the mental health issues that stem from job loss.
The subtext was clear. Kirkpatrick, a fellow Democrat, thinks the governor’s unnecessary orders are causing mental health problems.
There’s more. The task force didn’t have the authority to relax current restrictions on gatherings and sports. Kirkpatrick is smart. She knew that. She was sending a message to the governor that he needs to roll back restrictions pronto. Ouch. Even Democrats are starting to turn on him.
King Sisolak can complain all he wants about Trump. But his actions speak louder than words.