U.S. President and re-election candidate Donald Trump announced Tuesday that he is seeking a new venue for the Republican National Convention in August, after North Carolina authorities expressed concern about the massive attendance expected at the meeting at the height of the pandemic.
“Because of the governor of North Carolina, we are forced to look for another state to host the Republican National Convention in 2020,” Trump wrote on his Twitter account Tuesday night.
The Republican convention, the big event where the party chooses its candidate for the November presidential election, was previously scheduled to take place in Charlotte, N.C., August 24-27, and before the pandemic broke out, the event was expected to draw some 50,000 people to the city.
Last week, Trump threatened to move the convention to another location if North Carolina authorities did not guarantee he could hold the event without major changes, even though public health experts continue to advise against crowds because of the risk of COVID-19 infection.
The president on Tuesday accused the state’s Democratic governor, Roy Cooper, of “refusing to guarantee” that his party “can use the Spectrum Arena,” a Charlotte stadium with a capacity for some 19,000 people.
“Governor Cooper is still in ‘stay put’ mode, and won’t let us occupy the stadium as planned and promised. We would have shown the world beautiful North Carolina and brought the state hundreds of millions of dollars, and jobs,” Trump said on Twitter.
Republican leaders in Texas, Georgia and Florida have already offered to host the convention, which will serve to formalize Trump’s candidacy for reelection in the November 3 election, where he is expected to face former Vice President Joe Biden, a virtual Democratic Party nominee.
The North Carolina governor said on Tuesday that he could not guarantee the “full convention” Trump wanted, with the Spectrum Stadium crowded and nearby bars and restaurants full, the local newspaper “Charlotte Observer” reported.
“They’ve demanded a crowd of 19,000 at Charlotte’s indoor stadium We have repeated that we want to talk to them about a smaller-scale convention, but we cannot guarantee that they will have a full stadium by the end of August,” Cooper said at a news conference in Raleigh.
Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairman Ronna McDaniel said in a tweet Tuesday that her office will begin visiting “multiple cities and states” that have “recently contacted them to host a historic event and show that America is open for business.
In addition to these states, several city leaders have also expressed interest in hosting the event, including Las Vegas, Nevada; Nashville, Tennessee; Orlando and Jacksonville, Florida.
Despite the fact that the United States is the country with the most coronavirus infections in the world – with more than 1.83 million cases and 106,000 deaths – Trump has advocated an accelerated return to economic activity, including mass activities such as masses.