Trump rally crowd shouts ‘lock him up’ about Obama

President repeats accusation that predecessor spied on his campaign in 2016 to whip up crowds

Kate Ng
Monday 14 September 2020 13:22 BST
Crowd chants 'lock him up' after Trump accuses Obama of spying on his 2016 campaign again

Thousands of Trump supporters chanted “lock him up” after the US president told them that former president Barack Obama was “caught spying” on the 2016 Trump campaign.

Donald Trump held his first indoor rally in three months on Sunday in Henderson, Nevada, despite the event violating the state’s coronavirus restriction on gatherings of 50 people of more.

The Trump campaign sought to whip the crowds up following a turbulent week for Mr Trump has his administration deals with the backlash against his Covid-19 response, after it emerged that he downplayed the severity of the pandemic.

During Sunday’s event, he told attendees that Mr Obama “got caught spying on my campaign”, referring to previous accusations from him and his supporters that the investigation into the Russian links to Mr Trump’s campaign in 2016 were a ploy by the Obama administration to tarnish his candidacy.

In 2017, Mr Trump accused Mr Obama of wiretapping the Trump Tower. His claim has been refuted by the Justice Department and House Intelligence Committee leaders have said they have seen no evidence of wiretapping by the Obama administration.

But many Trump supporters believe the president’s claim, and the crowd began to chant “Lock him up!”. The phrase echoed a chant of “Lock her up” that Mr Trump encouraged when his presidential opponent was Democrat Hillary Clinton.

Sunday’s rally in Henderson was held in a facility owned by heavy equipment manufacturer Xtreme Manufacturing and was preceded by a warning from the city council that the event would violate coronavirus regulations.

A City of Henderson spokesperson Kathleen Richards told CNN in a statement that a compliance letter and verbal warning had been issued to the event organiser, confirming gatherings of more than 50 people in private or public settings are prohibited.

“Large live events must be approved by the Nevada Department of Business and Industry, Division of Industrial Relations and at this time, the City has not been notified that this event has been approved,” she said.

“The City may assess a fine of up to US$500 per violation of the governor’s directives as well as suspend or revoke the business license.”

Nevada governor Steve Sisolak slammed the Trump campaign for pushing ahead with the rally, calling the president “reckless and selfish”.

“Tonight, President Donald Trump is taking reckless and selfish actions that are putting countless lives in danger here in Nevada,” he said.

“The president appears to have forgotten that this country is still in the middle of a global pandemic.”

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