NC Dem governor rejects RNC demand for “full convention” calls for “scaled down” convention

Today Democrat NC Governor Roy Cooper shared a letter with RNC officials calling for a “scaled down” GOP convention.

Politico reports North Carolina’s Democratic governor, Roy Cooper, on Tuesday rejected the GOP’s plans for a full-fledged convention in Charlotte, telling Republican officials the only way the event would move forward is with proper health protocols in place.

“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,” Cooper wrote in a letter to the Republican National Committee.

The letter is a rebuke of the fully-attended convention that the RNC and President Trump have been pushing for despite concerns about spread of the coronavirus. In previous meetings with the Democratic-led state administration, GOP officials made clear the president’s desire for a 50,000-person convention without social distancing or mask-wearing measures and full-capacity hotels, restaurants and bars.

In a tit-for-tat that has dragged on for weeks, each side has pressed the other for answers on how the convention would be carried out safely — to no avail.

North Carolina Health and Human Services secretary Mandy Cohen sent a letter to RNC officials on May 27 in response to a series of tweets from President Donald Trump that threatened to pull the convention out of North Carolina. She requested a contingency plan from Republicans for how they would carry out a safe convention in line with CDC guidelines, saying the Coca-Cola 600 race held in Charlotte in late May was required to provide the same guidance.

In a written response, GOP officials outlined their convention safety protocol that included a list of measures they planned to take, including extensive sanitation measures and daily temperature checks for all who enter the Spectrum Arena.

On Friday, RNC Chair McDaniel told former Republican North Carolina governor Pat McCrory that they would wait until Wednesday for Cooper to further outline health and safety measures complete enough to “guarantee” the convention’s path forward.

Cooper’s latest letter is sure to disappoint national Republicans again. “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,” Cooper wrote. “Neither public health officials nor I will risk the health and safety of North Carolinians by providing the guarantee you seek.”

In response, North Carolina Republicans called Cooper a “hypocrite,” saying his participation in protests over the weekend runs counter to the state’s health and safety precautions that necessitate a scaled-back convention.

“Every day it is becoming clearer that Roy Cooper is putting politics ahead of results,” said North Carolina GOP spokesman Tim Wigginton in a statement. “We deserve to know why Cooper gives free reign to crowds gathered to riot, but refuses to let citizens peacefully and safely renominate the president.”