Like Iowa, Trump predicts ‘a lot of problems’ for Nevada caucuses during Vegas rally

The president’s effort to grab attention away from Democrats rolls on.

February 21, 2020, 6:52 PM

President Donald Trump took the stage in Las Vegas on Friday on the eve of the Nevada caucuses, where he predicted a repeat of the chaos in Iowa.

"You know, they say they’re gonna have a lot of problems tomorrow," Trump said regarding the Nevada caucuses. "I hate to tell you this. I don’t know. Have you heard? I hear their computers are all messed up, just like they were in Iowa. They're not going to be able to count their vote."

Amid the Friday rally, Trump also falsely blamed the "do-nothing Democrats" for "trying to start a rumor" about election interference, though the briefing he was discussing came from his own intelligence community regarding Russian efforts to help his reelection chances.

"I think they’re starting another one. Did you see that? I see these phonies, these -- the do-nothing Democrats," he said. "They said today that [Russia's President Vladimir] 'Putin wants to be sure that Trump gets elected.' Here we go again."

He added, "Did you see it? A story. Aren’t people bored?"

President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at the Las Vegas Convention Center, Feb. 21, 2020, in Las Vegas.
Evan Vucci/AP

Trump also repeated an idea he’s floated before -- that Russia would rather see a Sen. Bernie Sanders victory.

"Wouldn’t he rather have Bernie who honeymooned in Moscow?" He told the crowd. "These people are crazy."

The event at the Las Vegas Convention Center is his third and final consecutive campaign rally this week -- but beyond a raspy voice, you wouldn’t know it.

He packed arenas in Phoenix on Wednesday and Colorado on Thursday -- making it the biggest campaign blitz for the president this election cycle.

President Donald Trump arrives to speak to a campaign rally at the Las Vegas Convention Center, Feb. 21, 2020, in Las Vegas.
Mario Tama/Getty Images

"The most valuable commodity we have as a campaign is the president’s time," Tim Murtaugh, the Trump campaign's communications director, told ABC News. "If President Trump holds a rally in a state it’s because he thinks it can make a difference in winning in November."

The president -- with impeachment in the rear view, a strong economy, good poll numbers and a Democratic primary currently fluctuating between chaos and verbal food fights -- appeared as joyful and buoyant as ever to rail against his rivals and run down a list of grievances that spanned the Academy Awards to the executives of Comcast.

The timing of the Las Vegas rally on the day before the first-in-the-west caucuses continues the president's ongoing efforts to insert himself into the news cycle as the Democratic party works to pick who will face him in November.

But Nevada, like Colorado, is a state the president lost to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during the 2016 election cycle. His reelection team plans to invest in flipping the vote in Trump's favor in November.

So far, the president and his team view their counter-programming efforts as a big success -- with Trump grabbing headlines from local papers to national coverage with each disruptive stop in Iowa and New Hampshire, refusing to seed any ground to the other side.

"If it serves as a little counter-programming of the Democrats and highlights their ongoing train wreck, so much the better," Murtaugh told ABC News.

Supporters cheer as President Donald Trump arrives to deliver remarks at a Keep America Great rally in Las Vegas on Feb. 21, 2020.
Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

During the rally, Trump also said that he’s "trying to get fairness for a certain person who has been treated very unfairly."

While he didn't name him, he was likely talking of longtime friend and former campaign adviser Roger Stone -- who was sentenced to 40 months in federal prison on Thursday for lying to Congress, obstruction of justice and witness tampering.

At one point, Trump even talked glowingly for an extended period of time about his 13-year-old son Barron -- saying "I have a son at home, he's 13, he's a genius with computers."

The president plans to keep up his quick pace, dropping in the night before next week’s South Carolina primary, and then again in North Carolina the following week ahead of Super Tuesday.

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