The Republican National Convention, already moved to a new city once as a consequence of the pandemic, looks to be facing more hurdles ahead.
The Florida sheriff in Jacksonville, where the Republican National Convention is set for the end of August, is now saying he's doubtful proper security can be lined up in time for the event.
"As we're talking today, we are still not close to having some kind of plan that we can work with that makes me comfortable that we're going to keep that event and the community safe," Duval County Sheriff Mike Williams told Politico on Monday.
"It's not my event to plan, but I can just tell you that what has been proposed in my opinion is not achievable right now ... from a law enforcement standpoint, from a security standpoint," Williams, a Republican, said.
The convention was moved to Jacksonville in early June from its original site in Charlotte, N.C., after that state's Democratic governor was unbending on social distancing and other safety measures related to the coronavirus pandemic that Republicans wanted lifted.
But that left scant time for planning and preparation for the Aug. 24-27 event in Florida, Duval said.
Coronavirus cases have spiked in Florida in the ensuing weeks, causing a scaleback of events. That also has made it difficult to recruit enough law enforcement to work as security.
According to a email seen by Politico, the Florida Sheriffs Association in early July asked departments across the state for 2,000 officers. It got 500.
Williams isn't completely ruling out the convention, but he's not optimistic.
"But there's a lot of things that need to happen: an event schedule nailed down, and being able to sign contracts and spend money so that we can prepare for this event. And none of that has happened yet,” he said. “So here we are inside of 40 days, and I haven't really pulled the trigger on anything RNC-related when it comes to finances or contracts and so, you know, only related to security, mind you, nothing, nothing related to any of this."
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