Nevada Republicans run for cover as Trump plays ball with Putin

Trump and Putin handshake
President Donald J. Trump and President Vladimir Putin of the Russian Federation | July 16, 2018 (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)
Trump and Putin handshake
President Donald J. Trump and President Vladimir Putin of the Russian Federation | July 16, 2018 (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

UPDATE: Late Monday Dean Heller’s office issued a statement to some Nevada news outlets saying the senator trusted “our intelligence community’s assessment on Russian interference, not Vladimir Putin’s.” Heller’s statement made no mention President Trump. 

Democrats in Nevada and the U.S. are almost universal in their condemnation of President Donald Trump’s performance at a Helsinki news conference this morning alongside Russian President Vladimir Putin, but Republicans for the most part are staying mum.

Trump ignored a journalist’s challenge to confront Putin, opting instead to question the FBI investigation of Hillary Clinton. Challenged by a reporter to hold Putin accountable for Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election, Trump repeatedly asked  “Where’s the server?” and ignored the reporter’s question.

“My people came to me, Dan Coats came to me and some others, they said they think it’s Russia.  I have President Putin; he just said it’s not Russia. I will say this: I don’t see any reason why it would be,” Trump said, siding with Putin over U.S. intelligence forces.

Less than a month ago, top Nevada Republicans flocked to fawn over Trump when he made an appearance at the state convention in Las Vegas. Today, the Nevada GOP hierarchy is silent for the most part.

Only Nevada’s Republican National Committeewoman Diana Orrock responded to our requests for comment.  

Asked whether she approved of Trump’s performance on the world stage, Orrock responded: “Yes, I’m always happy with our President’s performance, which is always one step, or several, ahead of the fake news media.”

U.S. Senator Dean Heller has not made a public statement about the news conference.

State Party Chairman Michael McDonald did not respond to text messages or phone calls from the Current.

Parker Briden, a spokesman for Republican gubernatorial candidate and Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt, said he would let the Current “know if there is a statement to provide.” None was provided.

The Current reached out to ask Andy Abboud, government affairs executive for Trump friend and GOP mega contributor Sheldon Adelson, if the casino magnate was happy with Trump’s performance on the world stage. We did not hear back.

Trump supporter Amy Tarkanian, who is married to congressional candidate Danny Tarkanian, says she is out of town and did not watch the news conference. Her husband was at a leadership event in Washington, D.C. and not available for comment. 

Dana Gentry
Senior Reporter | Dana Gentry is a native Las Vegan and award-winning investigative journalist. She is a graduate of Bishop Gorman High School and holds a Bachelor's degree in Communications from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Gentry began her career in broadcasting as an intern at Channel 8, KLAS-TV. She later became a reporter at Channel 8, working with Las Vegas TV news legends Bob Stoldal and the late Ned Day. Gentry left her reporting job in 1985 to focus on motherhood. She returned to TV news in 2001 to launch "Face to Face with Jon Ralston" and the weekly business programs In Business Las Vegas and Vegas Inc, which she co-anchored with Jeff Gillan. Dana has four adult children, a grandson, three dogs, three cats and a cockatoo named Casper.


  1. I am simply stunned by the mainstream media’s histrionics about the Trump-Putin Press Conference. I get it; The media has broken into partisan tribes. But, I’m still hopeful that there are objective journalists around that learned a thing or two from Ted Koppel, to name just one “old school” traditional journalist. Anderson Cooper, who I generally like, especially when he does reports for 60 minutes, uttered an opinion hand grenade, on LIVE TV, right after the presser ended.
    “You have been watching perhaps one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president at a summit in front of a Russian leader truly that I’ve ever seen,” Cooper said.
    In a world full of random bloggers and fake-news practitioners, desperately seeking attention and clicks, I still expect some straight news reporting from journalists with integrity. Leave the opinion to the pundits. God knows there are enough of them, mostly trying to be quotable and provocative.
    And, for any respectable journalists, writing for online non-profits: sometimes, in the middle of July, every elected official and candidate is not readily available. That absence is not “running for cover.” They might just have better things to do. Don’t take it personally and immediately publish a premature headline and story, which could have waited.

  2. “I am simply stunned” that someone would blame the summer season for someone not having an opinion on drumps’ clown show in Helsinki
    He was played like an old violin and has become the punchline for jokes and cartoons along with our once great country
    Heller has no opinion and Adelson and Wynn are hiding as well they should
    He is a “shonda”


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