The Republican Party’s national convention is scheduled to be held in August — but according to the Washington Examiner, a number of GOP senators have already made clear they won’t be in attendance.
Among them is Utah Sen. Mitt Romney (R), who announced through a spokesperson on Wednesday that he would be skipping the Republican National Convention this year, according to NBC News. Romney, who was the star of the event in 2012 as the Republican Party’s presidential nominee, also did not attend the convention in 2016, NBC noted.
Skipping the convention
According to Politico, Romney was the lone Republican senator to vote in favor of President Donald Trump’s removal from office during his Senate impeachment trial earlier this year.
He did not give a reason for his impending absence.
The Examiner named four other Republican members of the Senate who have similarly announced plans to stay home this August. According to the outlet, those include Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley (R) and Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander (R), who have each cited health concerns amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
As the Examiner reports, both lawmakers are in their 80s, a group that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has said is at higher risk of experiencing serious complications from COVID-19. The disease has already killed at least 131,000 Americans and infected over 3 million nationwide, according to The New York Times.
It will be Grassley’s first time missing the convention since 1980, the Examiner noted.
Dodging the question
Others skipping this year’s convention include Maine Sen. Susan Collins, a moderate Republican who, like Romney, has had somewhat of a rocky relationship with President Trump over the last several years. As the Examiner reported, CBS News contributor Caitlin Huey-Burns broke the news of Collins’ decision in a tweet Tuesday.
“Susan Collins won’t be at the RNC convention,” the journalist wrote. “[H]er office tells me she ‘never made plans to attend the convention because she has never attended the national convention in years when she is up for election.’”
Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski (R) also plans to ditch the convention this year. According to The Hill, the reasons for her planned absence remain unclear, though she has previously wavered on whether she’ll support Trump’s re-election efforts and has refused to disclose who she plans to cast her ballot for in November.
“I know people might think that’s a dodge, but I think there are — there are important conversations that we need to have as an American people amongst ourselves about where we are right now,” the Alaskan senator said in June, according to NPR.
Those words brought an angry response from the president, who vowed on Twitter that he would work to unseat Murkowski in 2022’s primary season. “Few people know where they’ll be in two years from now, but I do, in the Great State of Alaska (which I love) campaigning against Senator Lisa Murkowski,” Trump tweeted in June.