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Trump threatens to move GOP convention over North Carolina’s coronavirus restrictions

President Trump warned Monday that the Republican Party could seek to move its 2020 convention if North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper (D) cannot guarantee that coronavirus restrictions will be lifted, allowing the full use of Charlotte’s Spectrum Center this summer.

“I love the Great State of North Carolina, so much so that I insisted on having the Republican National Convention in Charlotte at the end of August. Unfortunately, Democrat Governor, @RoyCooperNC is still in Shutdown mood & unable to guarantee that by August we will be allowed full attendance in the Arena,” Trump said in a series of tweets. “In other words, we would be spending millions of dollars building the Arena to a very high standard without even knowing if the Democrat Governor would allow the Republican Party to fully occupy the space.”

“Plans are being made by many thousands of enthusiastic Republicans, and others, to head to beautiful North Carolina in August. They must be immediately given an answer by the Governor as to whether or not the space will be allowed to be fully occupied,” he continued. “If not, we will be reluctantly forced to find, with all of the jobs and economic development it brings, another Republican National Convention site. This is not something I want to do. Thank you, and I LOVE the people of North Carolina!”

Vice President Pence later backed up Trump during an appearance on “Fox & Friends” on Monday morning, warning that the GOP could decide to move the August convention to a different location “that is farther along on reopening and can say with confidence that, that we can gather there.”

The Republican National Committee did not immediately respond to The Hill’s request for comment. Cooper responded in a statement later Monday morning, explaining that discussions with the Republican National Committee (RNC) were ongoing.

Trump has encouraged governors for weeks to begin accelerating their plans to reopen their economies and lift social distancing measures, even as some states have seen their numbers of confirmed coronavirus cases continue to rise.

North Carolina entered phase two of its reopening plan last week, allowing restaurants to open at 50 percent capacity but still prohibiting large gatherings.

The Democratic National Committee has already pushed back its own convention by a month, and the presumptive presidential nominee, former Vice President Joe Biden, has floated the option of the Milwaukee event going digital. 

Trump, however, has rejected suggestions of altering the GOP convention in the face of the pandemic.

Updated at 9:25 a.m.

Tags 2020 2020 campaign 2020 conventions Donald Trump Joe Biden Mike Pence North Carolina Republican National Committee RNC

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