“Zero interest.” That’s what President Donald Trump now says he has in relocating the 2020 Republican Convention from Charlotte.
Trump, who began Memorial Day beefing with North Carolina’s Democratic governor over potential constraints on this summer’s convention and threatening to move the event, walked back the proposition in a subsequent tweet.
“I have zero interest in moving the Republican National Convention to Doral in Miami,” Trump tweeted, “as falsely reported by the Fake News @nytimes in order to stir up trouble. Ballroom is not nearly big enough & would like to stay in N.C., whose gov. doesn’t even know if he can let people in?”
While it’s uncertain what “trouble was stirred up,” more certain was Floridians’ interest in hosting the event, including the chair of the Republican Party of Florida.
“The Republican Party of Florida would welcome the opportunity to host the Republican National Convention. Florida is committed to ensuring a safe, secure and successful event for President Trump and all attendees,” asserted Chairman Joe Gruters Monday.
Gruters’ comments came hours after the President issued what amounted to a jump ball for the summer event’s location. On Tuesday, Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry suggested Jacksonville as a possible site for the convention.
“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,” Trump tweeted.
“Unfortunately, Democrat Gov. Roy Cooper is still in shutdown mode & unable to guarantee that by August we will be allowed … 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. If not, we will be reluctantly forced to find, with all of the jobs and economic development it brings, another Republican National Convention site.”
Cooper’s office responded that state officials are working with the GOP on convention decisions “and will review its plans as they make decisions about how to hold the convention in Charlotte.”
VP Mike Pence, on Fox and Friends, floated Florida as a potential location, along with Georgia and Texas, two other states “farther along on reopening than North Carolina.”
The event will not be strictly-virtual, say campaign organizers, even as actual administration members are leery of potential problems.
A week ago, Republican National Committee chairwoman Ronna McDaniel vowed on a call with reporters that the convention slated for Aug. 24-27 would be held at least partly in person.
During a subsequent Charlotte-area visit, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar sounded less certain when discussing convention preparations. He did not refer to a traditional in-person convention as a certainty, but rather noted that “we’re several months away from the possibility of the RNC.” Azar also praised Cooper’s reopening moves.
The state reported nearly 24,000 positive cases Monday, a daily increase of about 740. On Saturday, the state reported 1,100 new cases, its biggest daily jump. Monday’s state tally includes about 750 deaths and 600 current hospitalizations.
Before Monday, Cooper and Trump had displayed little friction during the pandemic. While Cooper has urged the federal government to provide more testing supplies and protective gear, he’s avoided criticizing Trump by name. Trump, meanwhile, has largely refrained from calling out Cooper as he has other Democratic governors.
A.G. Gancarski has been a working journalist for over two decades. Gancarski has been a correspondent for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014. In 2018, he was a finalist for an Association of Alternative Newsweeklies "best political column." He can be reached at email@example.com.