With no teleprompter, Trump riffs with crowd at Las Vegas rally, vows to end taxes on tips


LAS VEGAS — Former President Donald Trump made stamina a theme of his rally Sunday in 104-degree heat at a Las Vegas park.

About 6,900 people attended, according to a crowd estimate by Las Vegas Metro police. Six people were transported to the hospital for heat-related illness, an LVMPD spokesperson said.

Speaking two days before Nevada’s primary, Trump did not endorse anyone in the U.S. Senate’s Republican race, where Army veteran Sam Brown and Trump's former ambassador to Iceland, Jeff Gunter, had hoped to get a nod.

Trump unveiled a new proposal he said he’d never mentioned publicly before that would be among his priorities — ending taxes on tips, a likely winner in Nevada, whose casino and entertainment economy depends on tips.

The pledge on tips adds one more detail to a Trump tax plan that has included vague pledges of tax relief to middle-income workers and small businesses.

"So this is the first time I've said this, and for those hotel workers and people that get tips you're going to be very happy because when I get to office, we are going to not charge taxes on tips people (are) making," Trump told a crowd of several thousand people.

Trump said he would "do that right away, first thing in office," and noted in prepared remarks that he would seek legislation in Congress to make the change. "You do a great job of service, you take care of people and I think it's going to be something that really is deserved."

He has previously pledged to make permanent the Republican-passed individual tax cuts that he signed into law in 2017, but which expire at the end of 2025. Tax experts estimate that doing so would raise U.S. deficits by some $4 trillion over a decade compared to current forecasts.

Technical difficulties during rally

Constant problems with his teleprompter were reported, and he vowed not to pay the company behind it.

"I don’t pay contractors who do (expletive) work," Trump said.

The lack of prepared remarks allowed for a looser speech where he often engaged in crowd participation like a standup comic, asking who should be his vice presidential running mate (no consensus) and whether "Sleepy Joe" or "Crooked Joe" was a better nickname for Biden.

One tangent involved whether he’d prefer to be eaten by a shark or electrocuted.

“I'll take electrocution every single time,” Trump said.

Viktor Orbán, Jack Smith, and Jesus Christ mentioned at rally

Over the course of his hourlong speech, Trump included a litany of prominent people he considered stupid.

Among them was Jack Smith, the special counsel overseeing criminal investigations into Trump's actions regarding the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol riot and his handling of classified documents.

“He’s a dumb son of a bitch,” Trump said.

On the other hand, he praised "the great Victor Orbán," Hungary’s authoritarian leader whom he quoted as saying that the only way the world can be saved is to elect Trump.

Trump described Biden and Democratic policies as so ridiculous that "the only way they can beat us is to cheat."

Because of this, he urged everyone to vote in November with turnout that’s "too big to rig," a refrain used by many of the dozen speakers who preceded him in a dirt field at Sunset Park.

U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene was one. She compared the former president, who was recently convicted of 34 felonies by a New York jury, to Jesus Christ.

“The person I worship was also a convicted felon, and he was crucified on a Roman cross,” she said.

Mark Robison is the state politics reporter for the Reno Gazette-Journal, with occasional forays into other topics. Email comments to mrobison@rgj.com or comment on Mark’s Greater Reno Facebook page.

Contributing: Reuters

This article originally appeared on Reno Gazette Journal: Donald Trump at Las Vegas rally: No more taxation of income from tips