President Barack Obama made his first trip to southern Nevada this campaign cycle to rally for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and promote early voting in the state.
The president spoke to more than 3,000 people inside Cheyenne High School in North Las Vegas, with 2,000 more in an overflow area outside the rally.
Although billed as a rally to support early voting, Obama spent a good percentage of his 25-minute speech focusing on Nevada’s close U.S. Senate race and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, whom he said “proves himself unfit for this office every single day, every single night.”
“You don’t have to be a husband or father to stand up for women,” he said. “You don’t have to have a disability to say it’s wrong to mock somebody for a having a disability. You don’t need to be a Muslim to stand with our fellow citizens.”
Obama said Trump wasn’t the originator of his movement, blaming Republicans for standing by while “far-right media outlets” promoted conspiracy theories about the president’s birth, plots to take away firearm rights and the 2015 Jade Helm military exercise.
“Donald Trump did not start this,” he said. “He just did what he always did and sign his name on it and take credit.”
The president also focused on Nevada’s Senate race between Republican Rep. Joe Heck and Democrat Catherine Cortez Masto. Obama said Cortez Masto, who introduced the president, had a “proven track record” and mentioned her past work as the state’s Attorney General in combating sex trafficking and sexual assault.
“The other guy’s supporting Donald Trump,” he said. “What the heck?”
Obama also touched on Trump’s allegations that the election will be “rigged” against him, saying that the state’s Republican governor and Secretary of State wouldn’t “rig” an election against a fellow Republican.
“If this is rigged, boy, it would be a really big conspiracy,” he said.
Trump’s Nevada campaign responded to the president’s visit, saying that a Hillary Clinton presidency would be a “disaster.”
“Even Barack Obama’s brother, Malik, knows that Hillary would be a disaster as president,” Trump Nevada director Charles Munoz said in a statement. “Nevadans are looking for change from the insider dealing and corruption in government and they realize that draining the swamp in Washington begins with defeating Hillary and electing Donald Trump.”
Nearly all other speakers, including a Trump International Hotel housekeeper, Clark County Commissioner Lawrence Weekly, Boyz II Men and Nevada Sen. Harry Reid kept Trump as a constant theme throughout the rally.
Reid called Trump a “racist” and a “fraud” and prompted the audience to chant “lock him up.”
“Don’t talk to me about ‘Make America Great Again,’” he said. “America is great now.”
The president last visited Nevada in August, where he spoke at a climate change summit at Lake Tahoe hosted by Sen. Harry Reid.
Early voting in Nevada started on Saturday and runs through Nov. 4th. Nearly 70,000 people have voted so far.