Republican leaders just announced their new site for the 2020 Republican National Convention after President Trump backed out of the contract with Charlotte when he wasn’t guaranteed a ‘fully occupied’ Spectrum Center.
Today the Washington Post reported that, “Republicans have tentatively settled on Jacksonville, Fla., as the new destination for the premier festivities of the Republican National Convention in August, according to three Republican officials briefed on the plans.”
They note that some of the RNC’s lower profile gatherings might still be held in Uptown Charlotte.
Problems began when RNC officials within the White House started talking about possibly scaling back the 50,000 people who were expected to gather in Charlotte, possibly even limiting the attendance to delegates only due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Last month, President Trump lashed out at the idea that his crowds might be reduced, tweeting a series of 4 tweets directed at North Carolina’s governor. He said RNC organizers “must be immediately given an answer by the Governor as to whether or not the space will be allowed to be fully occupied. If not, we will be reluctantly forced to find…another Republican National Convention site.”
Later that same day our governor released the following statement:
The next day, on Tuesday, May 26th, the president told a reporter; “we need a fast decision from the governor, he’s been acting very, very slowly and very suspiciously. We’re talking about a very short period of time. It’s a massive expenditure, yeah. I would say within a week, certainly, we have to know.”
Yesterday, the Governor sent a response letter to the President and the the RNC, saying:
“Dear Chairwoman McDaniel and President Kelly:
I am in receipt of your letter of May 30, 2020, demanding a ”full convention” which includes ”19,000 delegates, alternative delegates, staff, volunteers, elected officials and guests inside the Spectrum Center.” You also require ”full hotels and restaurants and bars at capacity.” In my conversations with you and with President Trump Friday night, you want us to guarantee a full arena.
We had appreciated your earlier acknowledgements that a successful and safe convention would need to be scaled back to protect the health of participants as well as North Carolinians. Unfortunately, it appears that has now changed.
We still want a safe RNC convention in Charlotte that follows the health guidelines set forth in the CDC’s interim guidance regarding mass gatherings. In my conversation with the President, I commended him for not holding crowded political rallies since March because of the serious health risk that they would cause.
The people of North Carolina do not know what the status of COVID-19 will be in August, so planning for a scaled-down convention with fewer people, social distancing and face coverings is a necessity.
We are happy to continue talking with you about what a scaled-down convention would look like and we still await your proposed plan for that. We also await answers to the safety questions posed by our state Health and Human Services Secretary, specifically regarding social distancing and face coverings.
With the Nation, the State of North Carolina and the City of Charlotte still under states of emergency it’s important to conduct the RNC convention accordingly. As much as we want the conditions surrounding COVID-19 to be favorable enough for you to hold the Convention you describe in late August, it is very unlikely. Neither public health officials nor I will risk the health and safety of North Carolinians by providing the guarantee you seek.
In 3 tweets posted last night, President Trump responded to Governor Coopers request for a scaled-down convention proposal with a decision to move the conference:
“Had long planned to have the Republican National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, a place I love. Now, @NC_Governor Roy Cooper and his representatives refuse to guarantee that we can have use of the Spectrum Arena – Spend millions of dollars, have everybody arrive, and then tell them they will not be able to gain entry. Governor Cooper is still in Shelter-In-Place Mode, and not allowing us to occupy the arena as originally anticipated and promised. Would have showcased beautiful North Carolina to the World, and brought in hundreds of millions of dollars, and jobs, for the State. Because of @NC_Governor, we are now forced to seek another State to host the 2020 Republican National Convention.”
What do you think about the decision to move the convention?