Grassley won't attend GOP convention amid coronavirus uptick

Grassley won't attend GOP convention amid coronavirus uptick
© Greg Nash

Sen. Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyOn The Money: Unemployment debate sparks GOP divisions | Pandemic reveals flaws of unemployment insurance programs | Survey finds nearly one-third of rehired workers laid off again Unemployment debate sparks GOP divisions Tensions flare as GOP's Biden probe ramps up  MORE (R-Iowa) said on Monday that he will not attend the GOP's national convention next month amid an uptick in coronavirus cases. 

"I’m not going to go. And I’m not going to go because of the virus situation," Grassley told Iowa reporters during a conference call.

A spokesman for Grassley confirmed the remarks, which were reported by the Des Moines Register. Grassley — who is the oldest GOP senator — also noted that he had attended every Republican National Convention since being elected to the Senate in 1980, making next month's the first he has missed in 40 years. 

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Republicans announced last month that they were moving the main events, including Trump's speech accepting the party's nomination, from Charlotte, N.C., to Jacksonville, Fla., amid a break with North Carolina's governor over whether the convention could go forward without social distancing measures in place. 

But Florida is seeing an uptick in its number of coronavirus cases including reporting 11,458 new cases on July 4, marking an all-time single-day high. 

The spread of the virus has added another dose of uncertainty into the GOP's convention plans, with several other Republican officials saying in recent weeks that they hadn't locked down whether to attend. 

Sen. Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanSenators holding behind-the-scenes talks on breaking coronavirus package stalemate Overnight Defense: Pompeo pressed on move to pull troops from Germany | Panel abruptly scraps confirmation hearing | Trump meets family of slain soldier Pompeo, lawmakers tangle over Germany troop withdrawal MORE (R-Ohio) said he supported Trump's reelection bid but was uncertain about attending the convention due to the virus. 

“We’ll see what the situation is then in terms of what COVID-19 is that week,” Portman told Ohio reporters late last month during a conference call.  

Sen. Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonUnemployment debate sparks GOP divisions Tensions flare as GOP's Biden probe ramps up  This week: Negotiators hunt for coronavirus deal as August break looms MORE (R-Wis.) told a Wisconsin TV station late last week that he hadn't yet made a decision on attending, adding that he wanted to know "what kind of social distancing, what kind of precautions are being taken.”