The Nevada company fined for hosting a huge indoor Trump rally in defiance of state emergency COVID-19 guidelines is now seeking to cash in on the pandemic by selling decontamination stations.
Along with inviting the Trump campaign to use one of its warehouses for a rally 100 times larger than the current Nevada limit of 50 people for public gatherings, Xtreme Manufacturing has been producing and marketing a walk-through enclosure that delivers a decontaminating mist.
“The Xtreme Opti-Clean Cube will help reduce cross-contamination risks and alleviate the spread of viruses for those entering any building, construction site or public venue,” says a video posted by the very company that put more than 5,600 people at risk.
One question worth asking is, if the cubes work and some were available at the time, why weren’t any in evidence at the Trump rally a week ago? The gathering was, after all, 560 times larger than the limit the company itself put forth in an online “XTREME MANUFACTURING COVID-19 COMMITMENT TO SAFETY.”
“We have restricted meetings and gatherings to no more than 10 people in large areas, and when possible, to attend meetings by telephone or video conferencing,” the company writes.
“We have established social distancing protocols to ensure that staff maintain a 6-foot personal separation from other staff during meetings, discussions, transportation, etc.”
The online declaration offers what is supposedly the company’s guiding philosophy in the pandemic:
“The safety and well-being of our customers, employees, families and community is the top priority for all of us at Xtreme Manufacturing. We appreciate the trust that you all place in us at Xtreme Manufacturing... We know everyone is concerned about COVID-19 and the impact that it could have on your life and potentially your life’s work.”
It is signed by the company’s owner.
Ahern also owns the Las Vegas hotel that bears his surname. He arranged for an Xtreme Opti-Clean Cube demonstration when the Nevada Republican Club held a luncheon there in July. Mayor Carolyn Goodman was one of the first to walk through the nearly invisible dry mist of disinfectant delivered by an array of nozzles on the interior walls, as well as the floor to get the soles of the feet. There was even a temperature reader to flag anybody with a fever. Never mind that the luncheon beyond the cube appeared to exceed the 50-person cube.
On Aug. 6, Ahern hosted a 550-person “Evangelicals for Trump” gathering at his hotel. He followed this three days later, with a 200-plus person beauty pageant. He was fined $10,930 for twice violating the provisions of Gov. Steve Sisolak’s emergency COVD-19 order.
But that did not stop Ahern from ignoring an explicit warning from the state not to hold the far bigger rally in his warehouse on Sept. 13. He went ahead.
No Xtreme Opti-Clean cubes were reported in use. But even if the devices had been in place at all the entrances, that would not have stopped a symptomless person already infected with COVID-19 from getting through. And such a person without a mask could have infected those packed in around him by joining in the particularly droplet-rich chant of “Four More Years! Four More Years!”
In addressing what may prove to have been a superspreading event, Trump declared, “We will very easily defeat the China virus.” He spoke about “law and order” even as the rally was contravening a lawful order. Xtreme Manufacturing was again fined, this time only $3,000 by the city of Henderson. The mogul who had signed a declaration about safety and responsibility seemed after the rally to harbor no remorse for having endangered thousands on his premises.
“My family came to this great state in the 1800s and landed in the Northern Nevada town of Fallon,” Ahern said at a press conference the next day. “I myself was born and raised right here in Las Vegas, and I’m a Nevadan through and through. I am also a proud American and believe that it is my patriotic duty to do what is right for our country, and what is right is supporting our great President, Donald J. Trump.”
Anybody who heard this was entitled to wonder how patriotic duty can possibly entail placing your fellow Americans at needless risk.
Ahern went on, “The decisions we make and actions we take are always with specific goals in mind. My goal was to continue the great American traditions of the right to assemble, and to free speech, which is no different than the thousands that are allowed to assemble at gaming tables, mask-less pool parties and protests across the state.”
The gamblers and the nitwits at the pool parties are no doubt reckless, but they are not defying a lawful order. Protesters who do are quickly condemned by Trump supporters such as Ahern.
And nobody putting down money at the blackjack tables or carrying signs at demonstrations is looking to cash in on the pandemic. But Xtreme Manufacturing is with its $40,000 Xtreme Opti-Clean Cube. One early customer is a Nevada construction outfit that is reportedly using the Opti-Clean Cubes for workers going in and out of jobs at three medical centers. Those centers could conceivably end up treating people infected as a result of the Sept. 13 rally at the Xtreme warehouse.
The Southern Nevada Board of Health confirmed to The Daily Beast that it had purchased a number of modular structures from Xtreme Manufacturing back in March. But the board says it did not authorize the purchase of any disinfecting cubes. It does not seem likely to be doing business with Xtreme in the future.
“We are disappointed by any organization that chooses to disregard state directives and public health guidelines related to COVID-19 prevention in our community,” a board spokesperson told the The Daily Beast on Tuesday.
Xtreme Manufacturing told The Daily Beast that it had no comment about the rally or Opti-Clean Cube. No surprise that the company did not try to explain what is inexplicable unless it was acting out of avarice and indifference in a time of COVID-19.