President Donald Trump made good on his threat to withdraw the Republican National Convention (RNC) from Charlotte, North Carolina on Tuesday night if North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper (D) did not guarantee that the convention space could be filled at full capacity despite COVID-19.
“Governor Cooper is still in Shelter-In-Place Mode, and not allowing us to occupy the arena as originally anticipated and promised. Would have showcased beautiful North Carolina to the World, and brought in hundreds of millions of dollars, and jobs, for the State,” Trump tweeted. “Because of @NC_Governor, we are now forced to seek another State to host the 2020 Republican National Convention.”
In response, Cooper posted a statement on Twitter declaring that “protecting public health and safety during this pandemic is a priority.”
“We have been committed to a safe RNC convention in North Carolina and it’s unfortunate they never agreed to scale down and make changes to keep people safe,” the governor tweeted. “Protecting public health and safety during this pandemic is a priority.”
Last week, the President had threatened to relocate the RNC, which is scheduled for August 24-27, saying that he will be “reluctantly forced” to yank the convention out of the Tar Heel State if Cooper did not promise to lift his stay-at-home order to allow full attendance at the event.
Cooper’s office stated at the time that North Carolina was “relying on data and science to protect our state’s public health and safety.”
Convention planners were reportedly caught off guard by Trump’s demand, having had civil conversations with the North Carolina governor about how to hold the convention amid the COVID-19 outbreak.
After Trump issued the threat, Republican leaders in Georgia, Florida, and Texas eagerly offered up their states as alternative hosts for the RNC.