Trump rushed from stage after false alarm

Posted on November 07, 2016

WASHINGTON -- Donald Trump was rushed from a stage in Nevada by Secret Service agents after flying from swing state to swing state while Hillary Clinton used her fund-raising edge on get-out-the-vote efforts and TV advertising in a final rush of campaigning that may determine the outcome of Tuesday’s US presidential election.

US Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton reacts on stage with singer Katy Perry during a campaign concert and rally in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, US, Nov. 5. -- Reuters
Both candidates started Saturday in Florida -- Mr. Trump with a rally at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa and Ms. Clinton with a speech in Pembroke Pines, northwest of Miami, that was cut to seven minutes by a rainstorm. Mr. Trump went on to Reno, where he was removed from the stage by Secret Service agents after a man attempted to rush the podium and someone in the crowd shouted “gun.”

While Ms. Clinton, 69, vowed in truncated remarks to be “president for everybody” and urged attendees to vote, Mr. Trump, 70, repeatedly questioned the Democratic nominee’s stamina.

“You need energy,” he said. “Hillary Clinton is the candidate of yesterday. We are the movement of the future,” Mr. Trump said.

The frenetic push from both campaigns comes as Mr. Trump, who has trailed Ms. Clinton in polls through almost the entire general-election campaign, has edged ahead in must-win states including North Carolina and Ohio, according to some polls, and become more competitive in Rust Belt states including Pennsylvania and Michigan.

Millions of Americans have already cast ballots and early-voting tallies in several states are exceeding levels of four years ago. In Florida, some 5.7 million ballots have been cast already, up 19% from 2012.

Mr. Trump, speaking at a rally in Reno, accused Democrats of rigging voting in Clark County, home to Las Vegas, and traditionally a Democrat stronghold. More than 57,000 people voted on the final day of early voting in the state -- setting a record, according to local officials quoted on Friday in the Last Vegas Review-Journal. One polling place was kept open to allow people already in line before closing to cast their votes, which is allowed.

“It’s being reported that certain key Democratic polling locations in Clark County were kept open for hours and hours beyond closing time to bus and bring Democratic voters in,” Mr. Trump said. “Folks, it’s a rigged system. It’s a rigged system and we’re going to beat it. We’re going to beat it. I’ve been saying it’s a rigged system.”

Shortly after, Mr. Trump was rushed off stage by Secret Service agents after a man appeared to try to approach the stage. The man was grabbed by security officials and was taken to a room guarded by the Reno SWAT team and Secret Service. No gun was found.

Mr. Trump returned to the stage several minutes later and said: “Nobody said it was going to be easy for us. But we will never be stopped. I want to thank the Secret Service. They’re amazing people.”

Secret Service spokesman Martin Mulholland said in a statement the incident happened at 9:05 p.m. “Mr. Trump was removed from the stage by his Secret Service protective detail after a commotion occurred in the crowd,” he said. “Immediately in front of the stage, an unidentified individual shouted ‘gun.’ Secret Service agents and Reno police officers immediately apprehended the subject. Upon a thorough search of the subject and the surrounding area, no weapon was found.”

Mr. Trump in Tampa earlier said he was doing “phenomenally” well in several Democrat-leaning states including Minnesota -- though polls have shown Ms. Clinton’s lead there in the mid-to-high single digits. Minnesota last voted for a Republican for president in 1972. At the same time, the Trump campaign canceled a scheduled rally in West Allis, Wisconsin, on Sunday, and will instead hold an event at Minneapolis -- St. Paul International Airport.

In Nevada, a state critical to Mr. Trump’s chances of putting together an Electoral College majority, figures released by the Secretary of State showed a surge of Democratic support. Democrats casting ballots on Friday jumped in Clark County, the state’s most populous, amid reported high turnout by Latinos. Mr. Trump finished Saturday with a late-night rally in Denver, where he made no mention of the drama in Reno.

In a move that could inflame tensions over voting access, the US Supreme Court on Saturday reinstated an Arizona law forbidding an early-voting practice favored by Latinos and Native Americans. The high court overturned a lower-court ruling from Friday striking down the ban.

Mr. Trump has angered many Latinos by promising to build a wall on the southern US border to stop illegal immigration, and by calling some Mexicans rapists and criminals.

While Mr. Trump works to expand the map as part of his route to victory, Ms. Clinton’s itinerary has narrowed to preserve leads in key states. After Florida, she left for an event in Philadelphia with pop singer Katy Perry.

En route to Pembroke Pines, Ms. Clinton met with voters and volunteers outside an early-voting site at the West Miami Community Center, a heavily Cuban-American area once represented as city commissioner by Republican Senator Marco Rubio. She also made brief remarks at one of her campaign’s field offices in Miami’s Little Haiti neighborhood, where she described America’s diversity as “a great gift and blessing.”

Key Democratic surrogates including vice-presidential nominee Senator Tim Kaine, Vice-President Joe Biden and Senator Bernie Sanders appeared in swing states Saturday. President Barack Obama will be in Orlando, Florida, for Ms. Clinton on Sunday, and LeBron James of the National Basketball Association’s Cleveland Cavaliers hits the trail for her as well.

Mr. Trump was joined at the second of his four rallies on Saturday by his wife, Melania, who introduced him as “bold, decisive,” as well as “compassionate, giving and loving” at the outdoor event held in a Wilmington, North Carolina, airport hanger.

Both campaigns scrambled to mobilize volunteers on the ground and air last-minute campaign ads, areas where the Clinton electoral machine may have the edge. Ms. Clinton will air a new two-minute advertisement Monday night on popular shows The Voice on NBC and Kevin Can Wait on CBS. The campaign says it has close to 1 million volunteers working this weekend and has made 45 million direct contacts with voters since late September.

At a rally in Pittsburgh on Friday, Ms. Clinton told her audience that after a seemingly endless election season, the outcome would come down to turnout. “Sometimes the fate of the greatest nations comes down to single moments in time,” she said. “This is one of those make-or-break moments for the United States. It is in your hands.”

The potential for Ms. Clinton to cruise to victory seen a few weeks ago was upended by Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey’s disclosure, 11 days before the election, that the agency was examining newly discovered e-mails that may be relevant to the investigation of her use of a private e-mail server while she was secretary of state.

Since then, Mr. Trump has renewed attacks on Ms. Clinton’s trustworthiness. The Florida crowd burst into chants of “lock her up” early in his speech on Saturday.

The latest ABC News/Washington Post tracking poll, released late Friday, showed Ms. Clinton with a four-point lead among likely voters. Enthusiasm among Clinton supporters was on the rise after slipping in the immediate aftermath of Mr. Comey’s letter to Congress. A McClatchy-Marist election poll released on Saturday showed Ms. Clinton up by a point.

Meanwhile, last-minute revelations still held the potential to throw campaigns off track.

The Wall Street Journal reported late Friday that the company that owns the National Enquirer paid a former Playboy Playmate of the Year $150,000 to keep quiet about an affair she reportedly had with Mr. Trump in 2006 and 2007, after he married Melania. Its chairman and chief executive officer, David Pecker, is a longtime Trump friend.

The Associated Press reported separately that records show Melania Trump, 46, a native of Slovenia, worked in the US in 1996 before gaining her visa to be legally employed as a model. -- Bloomberg