Donald Trump holds packed indoor campaign rally in Nevada

US president Donald Trump has hosted his first indoor rally in three months in front of a packed crowd in Nevada, in open defiance of state regulations and his own administration’s pandemic health guidelines.

Eager to project a sense of normality, Mr Trump soaked up the raucous cheers inside a warehouse in Henderson, on the outskirts of Las Vegas.

Not since his humiliating rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in June — which featured rows of empty seats and was blamed for a local spike in Covid-19 cases — has he gathered supporters indoors.

There was no early mention from the president that the pandemic had killed nearly 200,000 Americans and was still claiming 1,000 lives a day.

Few in the crowd wore masks, with one clear exception: those in the stands directly behind Mr Trump, whose images would end up on TV, were mandated to wear face coverings.

The rally in Tulsa, which was his first in three months after the coronavirus reached America, was a disaster for the campaign. One prominent Trump supporter at the rally, businessman and former presidential candidate Herman Cain, died of Covid-19 weeks later, though it was not clear if he contracted the virus in Tulsa.

Recognising that many supporters were uncomfortable gathering in a large group indoors, where the virus spreads more easily, the Trump campaign shifted to holding smaller, outdoor rallies, usually at aircraft hangers. But those rallies have grown in size in recent weeks, with little social distancing and few masks.

Indoors

On Sunday, they returned indoors, in part as a nod to the Las Vegas-area heat. Temperature checks were given to all upon entrance at the industrial site in Henderson and while masks were encouraged, few wore them.