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NC governor faces GOP convention dilemma amid pandemic

NC governor faces GOP convention dilemma amid pandemic
© Stefani Reynolds

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper (D) lifted the state's stay-at-home order on Friday but has felt increasing pressure from President TrumpDonald TrumpMaria Bartiromo defends reporting: 'Keep trashing me, I'll keep telling the truth' The Memo: The center strikes back Republicans eye Nashville crack-up to gain House seat MORE to guarantee that all coronavirus restrictions will be lifted by the end of August when the Republican Party is set to have its national convention in Charlotte.

Trump on Monday threatened to move the convention out of Charlotte, accusing Cooper of still being in "Shutdown mood."

"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," the president 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," he added.

North Carolina has entered the safer-at-home phase of Cooper's plan, which allows previously shuttered businesses such as restaurants and barbershops to operate at 50 percent capacity. Gatherings are limited to 10 people indoors and 25 people are allowed for outdoor events.

Cooper was again pressured on Tuesday, this time by RNC chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel, who claimed “a lot of states” had offered to host the convention — scheduled for Aug. 24-27 at Charlotte's Spectrum Center — following the president's tweets.

“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 in an appearance on "Fox & Friends."

“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?” she added. 

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantisRon DeSantisFlorida governor adept student of Trump playbook CDC can't regulate cruises: judge Former Fla. Gov calls for an investigation into the state's 'outsized role' in the Jan. 6 riot MORE (R) piled on as well, saying that he'd "love" to host the convention in his state. Georgia Gov. Brian KempBrian KempNorth Carolina county reverses course, ends coke machine ban MLB All-Star game to stay in Denver, judge rules MLB calls lawsuit over All-Star Game 'political theatrics' MORE (R) made a similar offer, citing the Peach State's "world-class facilities."

North Carolina did not implement phase two of Cooper's plan as hoped over Memorial Day weekend, reporting Saturday that a record 1,107 people tested positive for COVID-19 on Friday.

The News & Observer reported Monday that 627 new people had been hospitalized due to the virus, a new one-day high for the state.

North Carolina's average number of tests returning positive in the past seven days is around 8 percent, according to state health data. That's above the current national average, which is roughly 5.5 percent.

Cooper has yet to make the guarantee that Trump is asking for and his safer-at-home phase will run until at least June 26.