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President Donald Trump's speaks during a rally at the Las Vegas Convention Center on Friday, Feb. 21, 2020. (Jeff Scheid/The Nevada Independent)

President Donald Trump, during a Nevada tele-town hall, said that Democrats “100 percent” want to take away hard-fought union health plans, a call back to a skirmish between the politically powerful Culinary Union and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders over his Medicare-for-all proposal ahead of the presidential caucus earlier this year.

Trump, speaking on the phone to supporters for about 20 minutes Monday afternoon, said that Democrats want to replace union health plans with “socialized medicine.” Specifically, he railed against the Biden-Sanders Unity Task Force recommendations, which he dismissed as a “manifesto,” though those recommendations actually support the creation of a public health insurance option over a single-payer, Medicare-for-all system.

“They want to take away your union health care, so important. They want to take away your union health care, if you’re in the union, for socialized medicine and medical and health care. They want to take it away, and union members, they didn't want to support Joe Biden, nothing's gonna be changed, they wanted to support Bernie Sanders, I know, in the primary,” Trump said. “But they want to take away and they're gonna do that, 100 percent, they want to do that."

Sanders triumphed over Biden in the Nevada caucus by 27 percentage points despite heavy opposition from the Culinary Union, which warned its members that the Vermont senator would “end” their health care if elected president but did not endorse Biden or any other candidate in the Democratic primary. However, during the primary campaign, the Culinary Union published a flyer that said that Biden would “protect Culinary Healthcare” and “expand Obamacare” with a public health insurance option.

Union views, however, are far from homogenous on the issue of a public option over Medicare-for-all, in part because they don’t all have union health plans. Members of SEIU Local 1107, for instance, have employer-sponsored coverage unlike Culinary Union members, which are covered under a nonprofit union health plan.

During the tele-town hall, Trump also criticized a recently- approved Nevada law expanding mail-in voting during the pandemic. He said that Nevada’s “Democrat governor,” Steve Sisolak, “rammed through” the legislation “to flood your state with unsolicited mail” and urged supporters to “vote as early as possible” to protect their votes.

“It’s so important to get out and be careful with those unsolicited ballots, go out and make sure that they’re counted, you got to make sure that they’re counted because there are a lot of tricks being played, in my opinion, in your state,” Trump said. “This was all very quickly done, it was very hastily done and it's disgraceful that they're allowed to do it.”

The bill, which passed on party lines in August, requires election officials to send all active registered voters a mail-in ballot for the upcoming general election and for any other elections that happen in the wake of a statewide emergency or disaster directive.

Trump briefly gestured to a lawsuit that his campaign filed over the new mail-in voting law, calling it a “very big case” and saying that “we’ll see what happens.”

“On the merits, we should win,” Trump said.

The president also voiced some degree of confidence in the mail-in balloting process in Nevada, even as he has admitted that he blocked funding for the U.S. Postal Service to hurt mail-in voting.

“If the system is correct like they say, it should be correct, they say it’s correct, you go to vote and if your ballots are in, if they counted, they will have counted your vote, and you won’t be able to vote, which is good,” Trump said. “And if you do vote and they’re late, which is pretty unlikely I guess, but if they’re late, they won’t be able to count the ballot because you will have voted. So it’ll be one vote, and that’s what we want, but that’s the way that I would say, I would suggest, that it would be the best by far to make sure that your vote counts.”

Trump, however, advised voters to “make sure that everything is 100 percent” because there are “a lot of bad rumors that go on in that state.”

“And we want to make sure that we win,” Trump said.

The president also predicted that Nevada could play a key role in whether he is re-elected to the nation’s highest office.

“We're going to win, hopefully, really win big, and Nevada, we’ve got to get that victory, so important. We’ve got to do it,” Trump said. “That'll be the difference between winning and maybe not winning.”

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