Utah’s attorney general attends a Trump rally without a mask, and his challenger criticizes him for it

(Screenshot via MSNBC) In a photo broadcast Tuesday on MSNBC, Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes, second from left, is seen in attendance at an indoor rally for President Donald Trump on Sunday, Sept. 13, 2020. Reyes' Democratic challenger, Greg Skordas, criticized Reyes for not wearing a face mask or practicing social distancing to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Sean Reyes, Utah’s attorney general, had a good seat for President Donald Trump’s indoor rally in Henderson, Nev., on Sunday — and Reyes' Democratic challenger is criticizing him for attending.

“Here is Sean Reyes, at the Indoor Trump rally in Nevada - NOT wearing a mask,” attorney Greg Skordas, the Democrat running against Reyes in this year’s general election, wrote in a tweet posted Tuesday. “Utah deserves and [sic] AG who will focus on Utah, not spend all his time sucking up to the White House.”

The tweet includes an image, taken from a Tuesday broadcast of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe" (which also referenced an indoor Trump event Monday in Arizona). In the image, Reyes is seen standing among some famous Trump supporters, including Dana White, president of Ultimate Fighting Championship, and Rick Harrison, co-owner of the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop in Las Vegas and a star of the reality show “Pawn Stars.” Some of White’s UFC fighters also are standing in the vicinity.

No one in the photo, including Reyes, is shown wearing a face mask, and there seems to be little social distance between people — two steps that public health officials regularly recommend to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“I wear a mask everywhere I go in Utah," Reyes said Tuesday, in a statement to The Salt Lake Tribune. Reyes added, “[I] adhere to COVID event guidelines, and just FYI have been tested about 20 times in last month (all negative).”

Through a spokesman Wednesday, Reyes clarified his statement to say he has been “to about 20 events and have been tested many times in the last month (all negative).”

Reyes explained that everyone in the VIP section at Sunday’s Nevada rally wore masks before being tested — and, once their rapid test results came up negative, were allowed into the VIP area.

“I’m proud to support President Trump’s reelection and look forward to continuing our strong partnership to make Utah safer and stronger,” Reyes said.

The Democratic Attorneys General Association joined Skordas in criticizing Reyes.

In a statement, Farah Melendez, DAGA’s political director and a Utah native, said in part, “Sean Reyes' disregard for public safety is dangerous and goes against what scientists and even Trump’s White House advises. His actions blatantly ignore the thousands of Utahns in hospitals struggling to overcome COVID-19, the hundreds of neighbors we’ve lost due to inaction like his, and the entire state that depends on the Attorney General to lead by example.”

Several thousand people attended Trump’s rally in a warehouse at Xtreme Manufacturing in Henderson, a suburb of Las Vegas. Officials in Henderson warned the company it was violating emergency COVID-19 guidelines, issued in May by Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak, which limit indoor and outdoor gatherings to 50 people.

On Monday, the city of Henderson announced it would fine Xtreme Manufacturing $3,000 for violating the 50-person limit. Sisolak, a Democrat, slammed the rally as “shameful, dangerous and irresponsible.”

Sunday’s rally isn’t the first time Reyes has shown up at a big public event maskless since the pandemic began. In June, Reyes spoke — and rapped — at a rally in Cedar City protesting COVID-19 restrictions on businesses and residents. That outdoor event, which included a concert by country singer Collin Raye, moved to Cedar City after being prohibited near Grantsville and denounced in Kaysville.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.