Jun 12, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Trump to accept GOP nomination in Jacksonville

Trump at a Jacksonville rally in 2016. Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Trump at a Jacksonville rally in 2016. Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

President Trump's acceptance speech as the 2020 Republican presidential nominee will be relocated from Charlotte, North Carolina to Jacksonville, Florida, RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel announced on Thursday.

Why it matters: President Trump and the RNC pulled the acceptance speech out of North Carolina after Gov. Roy Cooper (D) said he would require the convention to be downsized due to COVID-19. The event is expected to draw around 50,000 people.

  • Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) and Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry (R) have welcomed the crowds.
  • Curry tweeted earlier this month: "A $100 million local impact event would be important for our city as an event/convention destination. The City is ready for world class events & ready [to] show the world we are open for business"

Details: The convention will take place Aug. 24-27 as originally planned, News 4 Jax reports. The acceptance speech will now be held at the VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville.

Of note: RNC business will still take place in Charlotte.

Between the lines: Jacksonville offers unique political advantages for Trump.

  • Florida is a key target for Republicans in 2020, with the swing state holding 29 electoral college votes.
  • Trump is registered to vote in Florida and announced his re-election campaign in Orlando.
  • Jacksonville also shares a media market with southern Georgia. Democrats are hoping to flip the state blue in 2020 after gaining momentum in the 2018 midterms.

But Axios' Jonathan Swan notes that none of the electoral 2020 politics informed the location decision-making. Instead, the choice was solely about giving Trump the unrestrained crowd he wants, per officials with direct knowledge.

Yes, but: Florida has seen an increase in coronavirus cases in recent weeks as the state has begun to gradually reopen. Some residents fear a convention could kickstart a resurgence, the Florida Times-Union reports.

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