President Donald Trump said Monday that the GOP may move its convention from North Carolina if Democrat Governor Roy Cooper can’t guarantee that the 20,000-person arena in Charlotte will be allowed to operate at full capacity.
Trump tweeted that Republicans “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.”
The convention is set for August 24, but Cooper has not yet made decisions about how the state will be operating and any restrictions on large gatherings at that time.
Trump said he loved North Carolina and didn’t want to move the convention.
No reassurance from Cooper
The governor’s spokesperson didn’t give any reassurances to Trump: “State health officials are working with the RNC and will review its plans as they make decisions about how to hold the convention in Charlotte. North Carolina is relying on data and science to protect our state’s public health and safety.”
Vice President Mike Pence talked about the situation on Fox & Friends, suggesting Florida, Texas or Georgia as possible alternative locations for the convention if North Carolina did not give permission to gather without restrictions.
These states may be “further along on reopening” than North Carolina, Pence said, noting that conventions take “many months” to plan and that it’s “absolutely essential” that organizers know ahead of time what will be allowed at the location.
Trump also mentioned the planning in his tweets: “Plans are being made by many thousands of enthusiastic Republicans, and others, to head to beautiful North Carolina in August.”
Florida issues invitation
The state of Florida was quick to respond to the tweets and Pence’s on-air comments by offering their state for the convention if needed.
“The Republican Party of Florida would welcome the opportunity to host the Republican National Convention. Florida is committed to ensuring a safe, secure and successful event for President Trump and all attendees,” Chairman Joe Gruters said after hearing of the potential problems.
Some Florida counties even suggested potential locations for the convention to be held. Duval County suggested Jacksonville as a possible venue, and noted that the county has held fighting championships and wrestling events during the pandemic, albeit with stadiums empty of fans.
“Duval County is ready and open for business, Mr. President,” the local GOP quickly posted on Facebook.