GOP votes to scale back Charlotte convention, move Trump acceptance speech

The Republican National Committee (RNC) on Wednesday night voted unanimously to scale back its convention in Charlotte, N.C., and move President Trump’s acceptance speech to a different location.

The RNC Executive Committee voted to reduce the number of invited delegates to a total of 336, amounting to six from each state and territory, an RNC spokesperson said in a statement obtained by The Hill.

The almost 2,500 delegates who would typically attend the convention will reportedly still vote for the presidential and vice presidential nominations even if they are not physically present, but only on-site delegates will vote on other convention business. 

All committees will not meet except for the credentials panels, meaning the platform approved in 2016 will become Trump’s in 2020.

And the “acceptance session of the convention,” which refers to Trump’s acceptance speech, will be in a location other than Charlotte. All delegates and alternates can attend and bring a guest if allowed by law, according to reports. 

“The RNC’s Executive Committee has unanimously approved procedures that allow for official convention business to continue in Charlotte,” an RNC spokesperson said in the statement obtained by The Hill.

“Many cities are eager to host the president’s acceptance of the nomination, and talks are continuing with several of them to host that celebration.”

The RNC voted to move the acceptance speech in response to North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper’s (D) inability to commit to hosting a fully attended convention, without social distancing and face coverings, because of the coronavirus pandemic. Before the outbreak, the GOP convention, set to start Aug. 24, was expected to gather more than 50,000 people in Charlotte. 

RNC Chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel said Wednesday on “The Hugh Hewitt Show” that Jacksonville, Fla., is the current front-runner to host the president’s speech. 

The same day, Charlotte’s host committee called the move “a clear violation of contracts with the city and other local groups. 

We have learned from news reports that the Republican National Committee has moved the convention from Charlotte to Jacksonville,” the committee said in a statement obtained by The Charlotte Observer. “This decision is in clear violation of the agreements made with the City of Charlotte, the County of Mecklenburg, Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority, and the Charlotte Host Committee.”

North Carolina has entered its second phase of reopening, which allows for indoor gatherings of 10 people. The third phase could begin later this month and could permit larger gatherings. 

The state has confirmed 38,171 COVID-19 cases and has reached a new high for hospitalizations related to the virus three days in a row, according to the state’s health department. More than 1,000 residents have died from COVID-19.

Updated at 8:57 a.m.

Tags 2020 presidential election Charlotte Coronavirus COVID-19 Donald Trump jacksonville North Carolina Republican National Committee Republican National Convention Ronna McDaniel Trump speech

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