Updated Jun 2, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Trump says RNC is looking outside of North Carolina for convention site

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper in 2018. Photo: Sara D. Davis/Getty Images

President Trump tweeted on Tuesday night that because of ongoing coronavirus restrictions in North Carolina, the Republican Party will be "forced to seek another state" to host its convention in August.

The big picture: The late-night tweet came after North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper (D) told convention organizers earlier Tuesday that Republicans should plan for a "scaled-down convention with fewer people, social distancing and face coverings" given the impact of the pandemic.

  • Trump had previously threatened to move the August convention from Charlotte if Cooper, a Democrat, does not allow the event to be held at full capacity.
  • "Governor Cooper is still in Shelter-In-Place Mode, and not allowing us to occupy the arena as originally anticipated and promised. Would have showcased beautiful North Carolina to the World, and brought in hundreds of millions of dollars, and jobs, for the State," Trump tweeted Tuesday.
  • "Because of @NC_Governor, we are now forced to seek another State to host the 2020 Republican National Convention."

Background: North Carolina's health and human services secretary asked the RNC in late May for clarification about how it plans to hold the convention and whether it would honor Trump's wish to host the event without requiring social distancing or face masks.

  • The RNC outlined proposed safety protocols, including requiring all attendees to have thermal scans before taking sanitized, pre-arranged transportation to the venue. Organizers said it would also require attendees to pass a health check before entering the convention arena.
  • The RNC stated in a letter that it does not have "solid guidelines from the State and cannot in good faith, ask thousands of visitors to begin paying deposits and making travel plans without knowing the full commitment of the Governor, elected officials and other stakeholders in supporting the Convention."

What they're saying: "We still want a safe RNC convention in Charlotte that follows the health guidelines set forth in the interim guidance regarding mass gatherings," Cooper wrote in Tuesday's letter. "In my conversation with the President, I commended him for not holding crowded political rallies since March because of the serious health risk that they would cause."

  • "The people of North Carolina do not know what the status of COVID-19 will be in August," Cooper noted.
  • "We are happy to continue talking with you about what a scaled-down convention
    would look like and we still await your proposed plan for that."

RNC chairwoman Ronna McDaniel wrote later on Tuesday that Cooper is "dragging his feet," adding, "We have an obligation to our delegates and nominee to begin visiting the multiple cities and states who have reached out in recent days about hosting an historic event..."

  • The New York Times reports the RNC is actively looking at other sites, including a planned visit to Nashville this week.
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