President Donald Trump said on Tuesday that the Republican convention due to be held in North Carolina in August will have to be held in another state because of social distancing restrictions ordered by the state's Democratic governor.
In a tweet, Trump said North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper "is still in Shelter-In-Place Mode, and not allowing us to occupy the arena as originally anticipated and promised."
"We are now forced to seek another State to host the 2020 Republican National Convention," Trump said.
The squabbling between the GOP and Cooper has reached a fevered pitch this week, with The New York Times reporting earlier Tuesday that the Republican National Committee had begun actively looking at alternative sites for its nominating convention in August.
According to the Times report, officials planned to visit Nashville this week. Other cities under consideration, according to a Republican official cited by the news organization, include Las Vegas, Orlando, Jacksonville and sites in Georgia.
Trump and other Republican officials had been pressing North Carolina for reassurances that they could stage a large-scale, traditional convention, without the burdens imposed by masks and social distancing.
But with virus cases growing in North Carolina and hospitalizations still climbing, Democrat Cooper sent a letter to Republican officials on Tuesday that “the people of North Carolina do not know what the status of COVID-19 will be in August, so planning for a scaled-down convention with fewer people, social distancing and face coverings is a necessity.”
Even before the president's tweet about pulling the event from North Carolina, there were signs that things would go that way. Earlier in the day, The Times had reported, Ronna McDaniel, the chairwoman of the RNC, let North Carolina officials know there was a strong possibility the event would be moved.
The event is scheduled for Aug. 24-27. It is not known if relocating it will affect the scheduling.
Democrats' convention is set for Aug. 17-20 in Milwaukee, but there has been discussion of a scaled-back or virtual event because of the pandemic.
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