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Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) told reporters Monday that he will not attend the Republican National Convention in Jacksonville this August due to coronavirus concerns, the Des Moines Register reports.
Why it matters: It's the 86-year-old's first time skipping the party's convention since he was elected to the Senate in 1980, and it underscores broader concerns about holding the mass gathering in a state where coronavirus cases are surging.
The big picture: Florida has surpassed 200,000 confirmed coronavirus cases in total and is now seeing more than 10,000 new cases a day.
- 58% of Jacksonville voters oppose the GOP's move to hold the main portions of its convention in their city — a decision made after North Carolina's governor told the party that it wouldn't be able to hold a full-scale convention in Charlotte due to health risks.
- Last week, Jacksonville required the use of face masks indoors and in public to help curb the spread of the virus.
What he's saying: "Going to a place where the governor feels that it’s safer is probably the right thing to do if you want to have a convention. And I think we should have a convention, but I think you should do whatever you can to make it as safe as possible so that would mean with face masks and with social distancing," Grassley said.