North Carolina’s Democratic governor told GOP officials on Tuesday that, without “proper health protocols in place,” the city of Charlotte cannot move forward with hosting a full-fledged Republican National Convention in August.
However, Gov. Roy Cooper told Republicans he is “happy to continue talking with you.
“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 RNC officials. “Neither public health officials nor I will risk the health and safety of North Carolinians by providing the guarantees you seek.”
President Donald Trump confirmed Republicans are now searching for another convention site.
A GOP source reportedly told Fox News that Republican National Convention officials are considering Nashville, Tennessee, as an alternate site.
Last week, North Carolina health officials asked Republican National Convention executives how many delegates would attend the Charlotte convention, as well as how they plan to identify and isolate anyone testing COVID-19 positive.
The letter, sent to RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel and convention president Marcia Lee Kelly, came in the wake of Trump’s demand to know if Charlotte and North Carolina will be reopened from the coronavirus in time for the Aug. 24-27 convention.
The letter cites CDC guidelines for coronavirus protection, which Trump has criticized in the past, and asks RNC officials how they will “implement health screenings, social distancing, face coverings, hand hygiene, and other cleaning protocols” during the event.
It also asked if the president still wants a large convention “without social distancing or face coverings.”
Health officials said while the state is in its second reopening phase, “this past week we had our highest day of new lab-confirmed COVID-19 cases in the state, and we have increasing numbers of people hospitalized with COVID-19.”
The Democratic National Convention has already been postponed to Aug. 17-20 in Milwaukee.
Governors of other states, including Georgia’s Brian Kemp, have invited the RNC to consider their locations as alternative convention sites.
Kemp’s offer was followed by one from Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who told reporters at a Miami news conference that he “would love” to have the GOP or even the Democratic convention, as either would bring millions of dollars to the state. The Republican governor said if Trump decides to move the GOP convention, it presumably would have to abide by any federal health guidelines and Florida would do its part to uphold them.
“The door is open, we want to have the conversation, whether RNC, DNC, whatever, because I think it will be good for the people of Florida,” DeSantis said. The Democratic convention is scheduled to be held in Milwaukee, and party officials have said they are evaluating contingency options, including a potential virtual convention, as a result of the virus.
Atlanta has hosted only one national political convention, the 1988 Democratic convention.
McDaniel said the president “is right to ask for assurances from North Carolina” about the convention.
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