President Trump tweeted Monday morning:
I love the Great State of North Carolina, so much so that I insisted on having the Republican National Convention in Charlotte at the end of August. Unfortunately, Democrat Governor, @RoyCooperNC is still in Shutdown mood & unable to guarantee that by August we will be allowed…
…full attendance in the Arena. In other words, we would be spending millions of dollars building the Arena to a very high standard without even knowing if the Democrat Governor would allow the Republican Party to fully occupy the space. Plans are being….
…made by many thousands of enthusiastic Republicans, and others, to head to beautiful North Carolina in August. They 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, with all of the jobs and economic development it brings, another Republican National Convention site. This is not something I want to do. Thank you, and I LOVE the people of North Carolina!
The state of play: Mandy Cohen, the state’s health and human services secretary, said last week that the GOP should “plan for the worst” as mass gatherings will be a “very big challenge” if the number of coronavirus cases in the state continues to increase, per NPR.
- The state reported its highest single-day spike in new coronavirus cases on Saturday, a day after it began its second phase of reopening.
- Mecklenburg County, home to Charlotte, has the highest number of confirmed cases in the state with over 3,000, according to state data.
- The convention is expected to draw around 50,000 people, and Republican leaders added a senior health adviser earlier this month to try to preempt virus concerns.
What he’s saying: “Plans are being made by many thousands of enthusiastic Republicans, and others, to head to beautiful North Carolina in August. They 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, with all of the jobs and economic development it brings, another Republican National Convention site,” Trump tweeted.
The backdrop: The New York Times reported last week that the Republican Party is quietly acknowledging that its convention plans would have to be scaled back amid the coronavirus threat, even as it publicly insisted its plans hadn’t changed.
- Trump even “has mused aloud to several aides about why the convention can’t simply be held in a hotel ballroom in Florida, given all of the health concerns and the fact that Florida is further along in reopening portions of the state.”
- The Times notes that contractual obligations make the event difficult to move from Charlotte — unless Cooper were to prevent the event from being held entirely.
The other side: The Democratic Party has already postponed its convention, scheduled to be held in Milwaukee, from July to August — and is considering adding virtual or socially-distanced elements.