Trump says GOP ‘flexible’ on convention plans
President Trump said Tuesday that Republicans are “flexible” with respect to holding a full convention in Jacksonville, Fla., amid a rising number of coronavirus cases in the state.
“We’re always looking at different things,” Trump told Greta Van Susteren, host of “Full Court Press,” in an interview Tuesday.
“We went to Florida, and when we went, when we signed a few weeks ago, it looked good and now all of a sudden it’s spiking up a little bit and that’s going to go down. It really depends on the timing. Look, we’re very flexible, we could do a lot of things, but we’re very flexible,” Trump continued.
The remarks signal a shift for the president, who has voiced a strong desire for a full Republican National Convention next month.
In June, the Republican Party announced plans to move the main convention events from Charlotte, N.C., — where it was originally scheduled to take place — to Jacksonville after Trump objected to the North Carolina governor’s demand the party stage a scaled-back convention with social distancing and masks.
Florida has seen a massive surge in coronavirus cases in recent weeks after the state relaxed restrictions to allow businesses to reopen, reporting over 7,000 new cases on Tuesday alone. Last month, the city of Jacksonville moved to require residents to wear masks inside and in public places in order to help reduce the spread of the virus. It is unclear whether the policy will remain in place at the time of the convention. Trump’s speech is scheduled for Aug. 27.
A handful of Republican senators are planning to forego this year’s convention amid the pandemic. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) explicitly said this week that he would skip the convention because of the coronavirus.
The gathering typically attracts thousands of people, and public health experts have warned against large-scale events because of the risk of spreading COVID-19. Those attending the convention are expected to be tested daily for the coronavirus, according to reports on Monday, as well as have their temperatures checked.