GOP chairwoman says 'a lot of states' have called about hosting party convention

GOP chairwoman says 'a lot of states' have called about hosting party convention
© Greg Nash

Republican National Committee (RNC) chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel said Tuesday that “a lot of states” have offered to host the party's convention in August after President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden says his faith is 'bedrock foundation of my life' after Trump claim Coronavirus talks on life support as parties dig in, pass blame Ohio governor tests negative in second coronavirus test MORE threatened to move it from North Carolina.

McDaniel, speaking on “Fox & Friends,” said that the RNC wants to hold the convention in North Carolina but agreed with Trump in faulting that state’s Democratic governor, Roy Cooper, for not providing assurances that the large-scale event would be able to go on as planned amidst concerns about the spread of the novel coronavirus.

“The president is right to say to the governor, you need to assure us before we lock in all these hotel rooms and we bring all of this revenue to your state that you’re going to let us have this convention,” McDaniel said. “There’s a lot of states that are calling the president right now saying, hey, why don’t you bring that revenue to our state?"  

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“We want to have it in North Carolina. The president loves North Carolina. It’s just the governor and he’s got to work with us. Every state we talk to is saying, we want to nominate the president here. They’re so excited to have that,” she later continued. “But this governor is up for reelection. He hasn’t given us the assurances we need. We need to be able to move forward in a concrete way.”

Trump lashed out at Cooper over the weekend, criticizing him for being “unable to guarantee” that the Republican Party would be able to “full occupy” the space for the convention, which is currently scheduled to run Aug. 24-27 in Charlotte.

Cooper has ordered the state to embark on a phased reopening where restrictions meant to curb the spread of the coronavirus are gradually lifted.

North Carolina moved to the second phase last week, in which businesses like restaurants and barber shops were allowed to operate at 50 percent capacity. The state currently limits in-person gatherings indoors to 10 people and those outdoors to 25 people.

“State health officials are working with the RNC and will review its plans as they make decisions about how to hold the convention in Charlotte,” a Cooper spokesman said following the president’s tweets. “North Carolina is relying on data and science to protect our state’s public health and safety.”

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The political conventions typically attract thousands of people from all over the country, but plans for both party events have been called into question as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Florida Republicans have welcomed the idea of hosting the GOP convention following the president’s tweets. Georgia's Republican governor, Brian Kemp, tweeted Tuesday that the state "would be honored to safely host the Republican National Convention." 

Trump has previously criticized Democratic governors for what he views as lagged efforts to reopen, at times siding with protesters demonstrating against stay-at-home orders in states like Michigan and Virginia. The president has been eager for states to reopen in order to revive the U.S. economy, which has been devastated by coronavirus closures nationwide.

States have gradually begun to reopen businesses as they have seen their infection curves ease, but some have seen spikes in case numbers after reopening, underscoring the continued threat of the virus as Americans return to a more normal life.

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany told “Fox & Friends” later Tuesday morning that Trump is trying to “ensure that politics is not at play in determining how and when the convention can work.”

“He wants to make sure a Democrat governor is not putting in place extraneous restrictions that would prohibit him from having the convention and holding it and sharing, as I said, the good news of America reopening and America overcoming what was a devastating pandemic,” McEnany said.