Kemp invites GOP to Georgia, as Trump urges N.C. to reopen for RNC

After President Donald Trump called on North Carolina’s Democratic governor to decide if Charlotte will be able to host August’s Republican National Convention, Gov. Brian Kemp invited the convention to Georgia.

The RNC is scheduled for scheduled Aug. 24-27. The Democratic National Convention has already been postponed to Aug. 17-20 in Milwaukee.

Trump took to Twitter on Monday, criticizing Gov. Roy Cooper’s ongoing coronavirus lockdown.

Cooper’s office responded, saying the state is working with the Republican National Committee to determine how to hold the convention.

On Tuesday, Kemp extended an invitation to Trump to consider the Peach State.

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 only hosted one national political convention, the 1988 Democratic convention.

North Carolina, according to Deadline, has moved into a second phase of lifting its coronavirus restrictions, which the state said runs through at least June 26 unless changed or canceled. Those guidelines restrict the use of large venues, arenas and stadiums, which would rule out large-scale events including political conventions.

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Later, the president took to social media again to criticize an alleged report he is considering moving the RNC to Florida.

Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel said the president “is right to ask for assurances from North Carolina” about the convention.

“We want to have it in North Carolina, the president wants to have it in North Carolina,” she told Fox News on Tuesday morning. “It’s just the governor. He has to work with us. Every state we talk to says we want to nominate the president here, but this governor is up for reelection and hasn’t given us the reassurances we need. We need to be able to move forward in a concrete way. We are going to have those discussions.”

David Shafer, chairman of Georgia’s state Republican Party, said in a text message that he spoke to Kemp on Tuesday morning. “We have reached out to Republican National Committee Chairman Ronna Romney to let her know that, if North Carolina falls through, Georgia is ready to help,” Shafer told The Associated Press.

“Under Governor Kemp, Georgia has led the nation in safely reopening its economy,” Shafer said. “We have first class facilities, a skilled workforce and a reputation for hospitality second to none. We would be proud to host the Republican National Convention.”

The Democratic National Convention was originally scheduled July 13-16. Party leaders are making moves toward a virtual presidential nominating convention, with party officials preparing to grant convention organizers the authority to design an event that won't require delegates to attend in person amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden also predicted Trump will come up with some rationale to delay November's general election because of the coronavirus.

“Mark my words, I think he is going to try to kick back the election somehow, come up with some rationale why it can’t be held. That’s the only way he thinks he can possibly win,” Biden said in a recent online campaign event.

Trump also took to Twitter on Tuesday to condemn any efforts to allow mail-in voting, which Democrats are strongly supporting in their quest to wrestle the Oval Office from Trump this fall.

Democrats are arguing the coronavirus outbreak shows the country needs to move toward one of their longtime goals — widespread voting by mail — to protect the November election.

But Democrats’ hopes for using the crisis to expand voting by mail face firm Republican opposition as well as significant logistical challenges. In some states, it would amount to a major revamp of their voting system about five months before the election.

Vote-by-mail boosters already lost the first round of the fight. Democrats tried and failed to insert a broad mandate expanding voting by mail in the stimulus bill, a proposal that could cost as much as $2 billion. Instead, the bill included $400 million to help states adjust elections however they see fit before November.