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 has been writing about Nevada policy and politics for more than 20 years. He 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 wrote the then-groundbreaking Las Vegas Gleaner, which among other things was the only independent political blog from Nevada that was credentialed at the 2008 Democratic National Convention. He spent a few years as a senior energy and environmental policy analyst for Public Citizen, and has occasionally worked as a consultant on mining, taxation, education and other issues for Nevada labor and public interest organizations. His freelance work has been published in outlets ranging from the Guardian to Desert Companion to In These Times to the Oil & Gas Journal. For several years he also taught U.S. History courses at UNLV. Prior to moving to Las Vegas, he was a reporter and then assistant managing editor at the Casper Star-Tribune, Wyoming’s largest newspaper.


  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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