Trump’s visit to Elko: Tempting political fate?

hoover and trump
White House archives; screen grab of UN press conference

When Donald Trump rallies the faithful in Elko Saturday, it will mark the fourth time a sitting president visits the town.

Republican President Herbert Hoover visited Elko in 1932. Hoover’s weak response to the Great Depression had rendered him very unpopular. Late in his presidency, Hoover asked Treasury Secretary Andrew Mellon for nickel to call a friend. Mellon’s reply: “Here are two nickels — call all of them.” The 1932 election was a disaster for Republicans. Hoover got crushed by FDR, while Democrats gained 97 seats in the House and retook control of the Senate for the first time since the election of 1918.

In 2006, Republican George W. Bush’s popularity was also waning. Bush was not on the ballot in the 2006 midterm elections. But his invasion and occupation of Iraq effectively was. Democrats regained control of both the House and the Senate.

Of course, past performance is not an indicator of future results — no matter how much Democrats today may hope otherwise.

Meantime, the other presidential visit was not held during a campaign year. Republican President William McKinley visited Elko in 1901, on the return leg of a cross-country train tour.

Hugh Jackson
Editor | Hugh Jackson was editor of the Las Vegas Business Press, senior editor at the Las Vegas CityLife weekly newspaper, daily political commentator on the Las Vegas NBC affiliate, and author of the Las Vegas Gleaner political blog. Prior to moving to Las Vegas, he was a reporter and editor at the Casper (Wyoming) Star-Tribune.


  1. One additional minor point, President Trump will also not be the first president to be carried live from Elko, that honor goes to President Hoover, who did a live radio broadcast from Elko November 7, 1932

    President Herbert Hoover “My fellow citizens: We have been through an arduous campaign’
    He closed his radio broadcast from Elko with, “The Presidency is more than executive responsibility. It is the symbol of America’s high purpose. The President must represent the Nation’s ideals, and he must also represent them to the nations of the world. After 4 years of experience I still regard this as a supreme obligation.


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