As he steamrolled to another victory in Nevada on Thursday night, former President Donald Trump took a few moments to thank one of his biggest fans, UFC heavyweight fighter Sean Strickland, squaring up for the cameras in a made-for-TV viral moment.
Trump and Strickland ran into one another in the halls of his Las Vegas victory party as they celebrated a resounding primary victory. Initial results show the former president earning over 99% of all votes cast, giving the two more than enough reason to mug for the cameras.
Trump v. @SStricklandMMA 🥊
— Benny Johnson (@bennyjohnson) February 9, 2024
Advisors to Trump know that appealing to the UFC crowd is a good strategic move. In November, he joined Tucker Carlson to make a surprise entrance at UFC 295, drawing an eruption of applause from thousands in attendance. Other fighters like Jorge Masvidal have praised him as the “greatest president in the history of the world.”
Strickland was not the only notable sighting Thursday. Former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy apparently flew from his California home to attend President Trump’s speech, as another attendee captured him standing stoically toward the back of the room.
Kevin McCarthy spotted at the Trump victory speech in Las Vegas pic.twitter.com/8MvIjZzWXZ
— Citizen Free Press (@CitizenFreePres) February 9, 2024
The win means Trump will claim all of Nevada’s 26 delegates, giving him a national total of 63 to Nikki Haley’s 17. He has now won contests in three states — Iowa, New Hampshire, and Nevada — putting him on a glide path to the GOP nomination if Haley’s standing doesn’t improve. Her campaign was in full damage control mode following a Tuesday night loss to a “none of these candidates” option in the Nevada caucus, which Trump did not enter, calling the election “rigged” to benefit him.
President Trump’s next stop will be South Carolina, where a February 24th primary in Haley’s home state will showcase his ironclad grip over what should be a stronghold for his last remaining Republican rival. The latest polls show Trump leading Haley there by a more than two-to-one margin. She has vowed to fight on, declaring that the GOP race should not be a “coronation” and boasting about $14 million in cash on hand that observers expect will allow her to get through Super Tuesday on March 5th. However, the pending departure of Ronna McDaniel from the Republican National Committee — and the likely election of a full-throated Trump supporter — indicates that the primary is all but over.