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Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

President Trump says he's canceled the Republican National Convention in Jacksonville, Florida, citing health concerns over the coronavirus and a need to protect the public.

What he's saying: Trump made the announcement from the White House briefing room, saying he would still give a speech accepting the nomination "in a different form," and that delegates still would convene in Charlotte, N.C., earlier that week as planned for party business. Trump claims he told his team "the timing for this event is not right, it's just not right," adding, "I have to protect the American people."

Our thought bubble:In the wake of the Tulsa rally debacle, where many of Trump's elderly supporters stayed away for fear of COVID-19, Trump's aides have been urging him to publicly address their concerns.

  • This has resulted in Trump belatedly encouraging the use of masks and now him pulling a stunning about-face and canceling a convention he ordered for the sole purpose of having a massive crowd without burdensome virus-related restrictions.

Between the lines: Trump forced the Republican National Committee to scramble to make Jacksonville work.

  • This required an extraordinary logistical effort, site visits, pressure on vendors and significant expense.
  • Today, Trump pulled the rug out from under the RNC after asking them to pull off a near-impossible task — arranging the year's biggest political event in a matter of weeks.

Behind the scenes: In Oval Office meetings discussing the convention over the past few weeks, aides warned Trump they couldn’t avoid three days of unrelentingly brutal media coverage if he went ahead with the Jacksonville convention.

  • An adviser who was in these meetings said that several aides made the point that the dominant story would have been the potential for Jacksonville to be a super-spreader event and they would find it hard, if not impossible, to break through the discussion of the coronavirus implications.

Go deeper

Win or lose, Trump will maintain his almighty grip over Republicans

President Trump speaks in the East Room early this morning. Photo: Carlos Barria/Reuters

Win or lose, President Trump will emerge more powerful than ever inside the GOP, by defying expectations for himself and lifting fellow Republicans to surprise victories in the House and Senate.

Why it matters: Trump enjoyed an almost messianic hold on Republicans before the election. Now, he looks like a prophet again, against the doomsday projections for his candidacy and his party’s congressional hopes.

56 mins ago - World

India sets new COVID world record as oxygen demand jumps seven-fold

COVID-19 patients being treated with free oxygen at a makeshift clinic in Indirapuram, Uttar Pradesh, India. Photo: Rebecca Conway/Getty Images

India has seen demand for oxygen jump "seven-fold" as the country set a new world record for daily COVID-19 cases on Thursday, per AP.

By the numbers: India's health ministry reported 412,262 new infections, taking the official tally past 21 million, and 3,980 deaths from the coronavirus in the past 24 hours. The official death toll now stands at 230,168. The actual numbers are believed to be much higher.

3 hours ago - World

U.K. sends patrol ships to British island amid fishing dispute with France

The HMS Tamar, one of the two ships deployed to Jersey. Photo: Finnbarr Webster/Getty Images

The United Kingdom's government announced Wednesday it has deployed two Royal Navy patrol vessels to the island of Jersey "as a precautionary measure," as tensions over fishing rights escalate with France.

Why it matters: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in a statement the government took the action to protect Jersey against potential threats of "a blockade" of French fishing boats at the island, which is off the coast of northwest France.