Jun 3, 2020 - Politics & Policy

RNC officially plans to move 2020 convention to new city

 Donald Trump (center, in red tie) and Mike Pence (center right, in blue tie), and their families on the final night of the Republican National Convention in 2016
President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and their families on the final night of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, on July 21, 2016. Photo: David Hume Kennerly/Getty Images

The Republican National Committee is scrambling for a new convention host city after President Trump said Tuesday that North Carolina’s coronavirus restrictions will make Charlotte unworkable for the crowds he's counting on.

Driving the news: The organization still hopes to conduct the convention's "official business" in Charlotte, an RNC spokesperson said. But the part that most Americans think about the convention — the spectacle of the speakers and the president accepting the Republican nomination itself — will be held in a different state with more relaxed COVID-19 laws.

Behind the scenes: North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper, a Democrat, told the RNC it wouldn't be able to hold a full-scale convention, for which it had contracted.

  • So that gave the RNC the ability to potentially change the rules to have a smaller presence in Charlotte while still fulfilling its contractual obligations to host the convention, per a source familiar with discussions.
  • Jacksonville is one of four leading contenders, per a source familiar with the matter. The others are Nashville, Orlando or somewhere in Georgia. This list could still change and evolve.
  • Politico's Alex Isenstadt was the first to report on these locations.

What they're saying: "Due to the directive from the governor that our convention cannot go on as planned and as required by our rules, the celebration of the president’s acceptance of the Republican nomination will be held in another city," an RNC spokesperson said in a statement.

  • "Should the governor allow more than 10 people in a room, we still hope to conduct the official business of the convention in Charlotte.”

The backdrop: Trump previously threatened to move the August convention from Charlotte if Cooper refused to allow the convention operate at full capacity.

  • But on Tuesday, Cooper told convention organizers that Republicans should plan for a "scaled-down convention with fewer people, social distancing and face coverings" given the impact of the pandemic.

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

Editor's note: This story has been updated with additional details.

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