Democratic presidential hopeful Martin O’Malley hitched his presidential wagon Wednesday to the Republican frontrunner Donald Trump.
O’Malley, the former Maryland governor, held a press conference on a scorching hot road in front of the Trump International Hotel Las Vegas, a 64-story gold hotel emblazoned in Trump’s name. Standing on the median of the road, with cars darting by on both sides, the governor looked to tap into the media storm around Trump by continually blasting the businessman turned Republican candidate.
Flanked by a handful of Trump employees who are locked in a fight with hotel over attempts to join the Culinary Union, O’Malley said Trump lacked the courage that his own workers have because they “have the courage to stand up to the hate, to the division, to the sort of rhetoric that actually makes it harder for us to make our economy grow and work well for all Americans.”
The event was part substance, part stunt.
O’Malley has been in the low single digits nationally since launching his campaign earlier this year and unlike Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, he has shown no signs of catching fire.
The governor, however, rejected the idea that his presser was all politics.
“I am here in Nevada to talk to the AFL-CIO and during my visit I wanted to do a press availability here because I think that there are no two greater contrasts between an economy that works for all of us and the sort of economy that Donald Trump would seek the have the Republican party construct in the United States than this backdrop,” he said. “So that is why I choose to come here.”
The event was an odd scene in the middle of a random Las Vegas street. Workers from inside the hotel watched the press conference, and near the end two workers – sporting Trump International uniforms – came out holding a sign that said, “We don’t want the union here.”
Cars crept by at times while O’Malley was speaking. The driver of one even rolled down his window and shouted, “Trump for President!” before speeding off.
In ten minutes, O’Malley said Trump’s name eight times.
Trump’s campaign did not immediately comment to O’Malley holding a press conference outside his hotel.
About 500 workers are currently fighting with Trump for the right to join the Culinary Union, and have been waging war with the real estate mogul since June 2014.
“Donald Trump says he wants to make America great again. Mr. Trump should start right here in Las Vegas with workers at his hotel,” Geoconda Arguello-Kline, secretary-treasurer for the Culinary Union, said in a statement earlier this week, using Trump’s “Make America Great Again” slogan against him.
The Culinary Union is a massive force in Nevada politics and currently represents around 55,000 workers in the state’s casinos and hotels. The union’s endorsement is a political coup and Democrats running for president in 2016, and O’Malley, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, have already started to angle for it.
Wednesday’s trip is O’Malley’s first to Nevada since he entered the presidential race earlier this year.