Several prominent Nevada Republicans running for office gathered Friday in a Las Vegas park for a barbecue that served as a backdrop for praising veterans and bashing Democratic Rep. Jacky Rosen.
Two gubernatorial candidates — state Treasurer Dan Schwartz and Attorney General Adam Laxalt — joined Sen. Dean Heller, who’s running for re-election against Rosen. The trio thanked the veterans who attended and vowed to continue supporting them.
“It’s just gut-wrenching and appalling to think that veterans from Vietnam that suffered one of the worst conflicts in the history of warfare didn’t come back to a hero’s welcome,” Laxalt said. “They came back to a civilian population that wasn’t embracing them and wasn’t ready to honor and cherish them. That must have been an incredibly tough load to bear.”
Heller reiterated his appreciation for military members and veterans but also launched an attack on his opponent. The senator blasted Rosen for attending a fundraiser Friday hosted by “Hanoi Jane” — the nickname given to actress Jane Fonda after she visited North Vietnam in 1972 and criticized American involvement in the war. (Rosen's campaign said late Friday that Fonda did not end up attending the event.)
“She had a choice — a choice to serve the 300,000 veterans here in Nevada or raise $300,000 in Hollywood,” Heller said. “She chooses Hollywood. Let me just give you six words: I will not sell you out.”
Rosen’s team lashed right back at Heller, releasing a statement that attacked him on other sensitive issues.
"Instead of playing politics on such an important issue, Sen. Heller should explain to Nevada's veterans why he plans to support President Trump's controversial nominee for VA Secretary or why he accepted a $1,000 political donation from a well-known veterans charity scam that's been under investigation since last year,” a Rosen campaign spokesperson wrote.
The Republican barbecue also provided an opportunity to see Laxalt and Schwartz in campaign mode at the same time. Schwartz only delivered remarks right before he led the group in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance.
“We’ve got some political candidates up here,” Schwartz said, addressing the veterans and military members. “Some of us are running against each other. But I want you to know that win or lose, our party stands behind you. We have your back.”
Laxalt and Schwartz face off June 12 in the primary election.
This has been updated to include new information from Rosen's campaign.