Sens. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., and Roy Blount, R-Mo., have joined five Republican colleagues in announcing they will not attend the Republican National Convention in Jacksonville, Florida, next month.
Roberts, 84, announced earlier this week he was unlikely to attend the gathering Aug. 25-27 that formally will renominate President Donald Trump as the GOP's candidate for another four-year term.
Blount, 70, also reportedly announced he, too, will not attend, adding to Sens. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, 86; and Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., 80, who is retiring at the end of the year.
Three others, who had previously announced they would not attend, have sparred politically with Trump: Sens. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, the only Republican who voted to convict Trump during his impeachment trial; Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska; and Susan Collins, R-Maine.
The latest announcement comes as the seven-day average number of confirmed new positive tests for the novel coronavirus reached a high of 10,855 in Florida, according to Worldometer. That number has been trending higher since June 1, when the seven-day average was 742.
The seven-day average of daily deaths from COVID-19 has remained relatively flat at about 70 for several days after more than doubling the average of 31 recorded June 20.
Duval County, where Jacksonville is located, has recorded the sixth-most cases in Florida, 13,724, a fifth of Miami-Dade, which has nearly one-quarter of the cases (69,803) in the state.
The GOP convention will begin in Charlotte, North Carolina, on Aug. 24, to conduct logistical business. It will shift to Jacksonville the following day and conclude with Trump's speech accepting the nomination.
Republican officials moved the bulk of their gathering from Charlotte to Jacksonville after North Carolina's Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper balked at allowing any large-scale congregation in his state.
The Democrats, conversely, will hold a scaled-down, mostly virtual version of their nominating convention in Milwaukee, with delegates voting by an email process.
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