By SAM METZ AP/Report for America
CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) — Supporters of President Donald Trump on Wednesday lined the streets outside Nevada’s state capital and rallied in front of federal buildings in Las Vegas, as Congress suspended its count of state electoral votes after demonstrators stormed the U.S. Capitol in Washington.
Carrying signs including “Voter fraud is treason,” a mostly maskless crowd in Carson City chanted “We want freedom” and demanded federal lawmakers take action to prevent incoming president Joe Biden from taking office.
“The man that we elected to support our president as vice president has given up on this country and given up on you and me. Vice President Pence is a traitor to this country,” conservative radio host Monica Jaye told a booing audience after Pence said he didn’t have the power to overturn the election results.
Republican Party and Trump campaign attorneys lost multiple bids in state and federal courts in Nevada to invalidate Biden’s electoral victory that gave the state’s six electoral votes to the former vice president. The state Supreme Court certified results showing Biden won by 33,596 votes, nearly 2.4% of the 1.4 million votes cast statewide. In the Las Vegas area, Biden won by 9.35%.
In Las Vegas, intermittent contingents of vehicles including pickup trucks displaying American flags and Trump campaign banners rolled up Las Vegas Boulevard, honking horns as they passed protesters on both sidewalks bearing “Stop the Steal” signs in front of federal buildings.
Some among the crowd of a few hundred people wore distinctive red caps bearing Trump campaign slogans. The demonstration was loud but peaceful, with police and federal marshals watching from building steps behind bicycle rack-style metal barricades.
The protests were among many in cities and state capitals throughout the U.S.
The congressional count is the last step in affirming Biden’s 306-232 Electoral College victory in the Nov. 3 election.
Although Pence and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell opposed efforts to reject state electoral college votes, a minority coalition of congressional Republicans challenged the procedure, citing Trump’s repeated claims without evidence of widespread fraud.
In Carson City, protestors broadcast Trump’s National Mall speech on loudspeakers, in which he vowed to “never concede.” They called for a “new Republican Party” and equated the vote count to treason.
Associated Press writer Ken Ritter contributed from Las Vegas. Metz is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.