As Trump Rallies in the Southwest, Extreme Heat Threatens MAGA Faithful

Political campaigns do their best to control as much as possible: their candidate, their messages, their surrogates, and their schedules. But what to do about the weather?

This week, as former President Donald J. Trump holds campaign events across the Southwest, his team is grappling with an extreme heat wave that has threatened the health of some of his most sought-after fans.

On Thursday, Mr. Trump traveled to Phoenix for a campaign event at a megachurch, where hopeful attendees waited hours to get in as the temperature topped 110 degrees. The heat was so scorching that some of those waiting collapsed and 11 people were taken to hospital to be treated for heat exhaustion.

The Trump campaign is taking steps to avoid similar circumstances on Sunday, when Mr. Trump is expected to speak at an outdoor rally at noon in a Las Vegas park. The forecast calls for a temperature of around 105 degrees.

Much of the western United States has been facing a heat wave all week. Phoenix and Las Vegas have been under an excessive heat warning for days, with afternoon temperatures hovering in the triple digits.

And the temperatures were historic: Phoenix peaked at 113 degrees on Thursday and Las Vegas at 111, both daily records for those cities.

Still, Mr. Trump’s rally in Phoenix was held indoors, and those who made it could expect relief — and air conditioning — that might be harder to come by during his outdoor event in Nevada.

The weather service’s excessive heat warning for Las Vegas is set to expire at 9 p.m. Saturday, the day before Mr. Trump’s rally. But temperatures are currently expected to reach a high of 104 on Sunday with little cloud cover.

Supporters eager to attend a Trump event will typically arrive hours before the candidate, forming long, slow-moving lines to get through security and get a good vantage point. The wait can be stressful under normal circumstances.

The Trump campaign announced it would have thousands of bottles of water available in Las Vegas to give away to people waiting in line and those already inside the security perimeter. Tents will be set up around the park so people can protect themselves from the sun, and there will be at least one air-conditioned tent.

Campaign staff will install a number of misting fans to help cool participants. And although Secret Service and security officials sometimes confiscate umbrellas out of fear that they could be used as weapons, the Trump campaign said it would allow small umbrellas at Sunday’s event to provide weapons. ‘shadow.

Mr. Trump could face similar problems throughout the summer. Seasonal forecasts from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predict above-normal temperatures for the next three months across most of the United States.

Periods of extreme heat have become more frequent, longer and more intense as climate change warms the planet.

Mr. Trump has downplayed the threat of climate change, saying this week in an interview with Sean Hannity on Fox News that “the only global warming that matters to me is nuclear global warming, because that’s the real deal.” And he mocked President Biden, calling him too concerned about climate change and calling it an existential threat.

Yet Mr. Trump is no stranger to holding rallies in extreme weather or canceling them because the conditions are too dangerous.

Earlier this year, as a snowstorm swept through Iowa the week before the caucuses, Mr. Trump canceled all but one rallies, citing the risk of severe weather.

At the only event he held, attendees braved subzero temperatures and extreme winds to wait in line. The campaign provided three heated coaches where those waiting could warm up.

In April, Mr. Trump canceled a rally on the tarmac of a North Carolina airport due to safety concerns as severe storms approached.

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