President Trump plans to move the Republican National Convention out of North Carolina over the state’s refusal to lift coronavirus social-distancing guidelines.
Trump tweeted that he is now “forced” to look for another state to host the event after the state’s governor, Roy Cooper, said it was “unlikely” that guidelines would be loosened in time for the convention to go on as planned in Charlotte this August.
“Governor Cooper is still in Shelter-In-Place Mode, and not allowing us to occupy the arena as originally anticipated and promised,” Trump said in a series of tweets.
“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.”
Cooper said the GOP wanted to pack 19,000 delegates, alternative delegates, staff, volunteers, elected officials and guests” inside the Spectrum Center. He couldn’t yet guarantee such a large gathering during the pandemic in a letter dated Tuesday that he sent RNC chairwoman Ronna McDaniel and Marcia Lee Kelly, CEO of the party’s convention.
“We have been committed to a safe RNC convention in North Carolina and it’s unfortunate they never agreed to scale down and make changes to keep people safe,” Cooper tweeted in response to Trump’s Twitter announcement. “Protecting public health and safety during this pandemic is a priority.”
Trump has pressured Cooper for weeks to guarantee the Spectrum Center could be filled for the event scheduled for the week of Aug. 24, while the governor has refused to budge.
The president didn’t specify where he’d prefer the event was held, though governors in states like Texas and Georgia have previously stated they’d gladly host.