Reno prepares to welcome Trump for first visit to Nevada as president
RENO, Nev. (KSNV News3LV) —
It will be a tale of two welcomes: One, inside the Reno-Sparks Convention Center, and the other, outside.
Inside, President Donald Trump will address the 99th national convention of the American Legion, where several thousand veterans are meeting.
Outside, progressive groups say hundreds, perhaps, will meet on streets outside the Convention Center to protest a president they consider unfit.
"Whatever he says, I hope it's a message of healing because the country is kind of broken at this point," says Army veteran John Rupe of Las Vegas, in Reno for the convention. "Anything that he says to bring the country closer together is what we're looking to hear."
Trump arrives two days after announcing a major shift in U.S. strategy in Afghanistan, saying that he reluctantly agreed with the Pentagon that more U.S. troops are necessary.
"This is a friendly audience for him, particularly following his speech on Afghanistan" says UNR political expert Eric Herzik.
But Trump also arrives about two weeks after a white nationalist march in Charlottesville, Va., that left three people dead. His response was considered racially insensitive by some, worse by others.
Hence the protests, which organizers say will be peaceful. Reno police plan a heavy presence in front of the Convention Center.
This is Trump's first visit to Nevada since he stunned America's political establishment in November by winning the election. His Democratic rival Hillary Clinton won Nevada by about 3 percentage points.
"He's in the part of the state that is going to be more favorably inclined towards him," says Herzik. While Clinton won Washoe County, Trump trounced in her rural northern Nevada.
The president will be greeted at the Reno Airport by Gov. Brian Sandoval.
Trump has fans at the convention.
"I think President Trump has a good grip on what's going on. I think his attitude is he wants to win, and winning the mission in bringing the country back together is part of what he should do," says Rupe.
Trump will get a polite reception, says Air Force veteran Victor Moss, in Reno from Las Vegas.
"The amazing thing about the American Legion is regardless of who's sitting in the Oval Office — that is the commander in chief," says Moss. "I've been at national conventions when President Obama spoke, and it was a friendly crowd for that as well."
"We tend to put our political or partisan difference aside in respect to the president," Moss says.