Bud Kennedy

In Vegas, drive-through wedding chapel hopes for a Trump visit

The Little White Wedding Chapel on the Las Vegas “strip.”
The Little White Wedding Chapel on the Las Vegas “strip.” ASSOCIATED PRESS

The winner of two impressive debates and ready to close the deal and win the White House, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio — No. Wait.

Republicans had a choice of candidates with the charisma and appeal to defeat Democrat Hillary Clinton.

But instead, Republicans were grabbed by Donald J. Trump.

So a year that began with the electoral polls favoring Clinton is ending the same way, with Trump getting one last chance Wednesday to sway voters.

In Vegas, where everything is overhyped, overdone and over-the-top, Trump is almost the home team.

“I know he is a man of many words, but I feel he also has a great big, wonderful heart,” said Charlotte Richards, for 60 years Vegas’ wedding officiant to the stars at the Little White Wedding Chapel.

Richards said Trump has never been married in her chapel, host to weddings for stars from Frank Sinatra and Judy Garland to Michael Jordan and Britney Spears.

But we’re talking about Trump. So there’s always next time.

“He has an open invitation,” she said, catching herself: “to — renew his wedding vows with his wife here.”

She will meet Trump Wednesday night with a mutual friend.

Trump doesn’t say much about faith, Richards said.

“But I do believe he believes in God, and that he is our maker and creator,” Richards said.

“When you’re somebody at Trump’s level, it’s better not to say as much about religion.”

If Donald and Melania Trump want to drop by after the debate to renew their vows, they don’t even have to get out of the limo.

The Little White Wedding Chapel hosts drive-through weddings where couples roll through a “Tunnel of Love.”

“We get young people with children in baby seats, or little doggies that they don’t want to leave in the car,” Richards said.

She presides from the driver’s window: “We are gathered here today … “

Other Vegas attractions reported less political interest.

At the Mob Museum, “dedicated to the thrilling history of organized crime and law enforcement,” gift shop clerk Sue Reynolds said she has heard less political talk than usual.

“Mainly, they just talk about which roads are blocked,” she said.

At the National Atomic Museum, where a video simulates a “3-2-1” countdown and nuclear blast, a shop clerk selling “Area 51” caps said: “People just bashing both candidates.”

(He said he couldn’t disclose his name. I bet WikiLeaks knows it.)

Bud Kennedy: 817-390-7538, bud@star-telegram.com, @BudKennedy. His column appears Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays.