North Carolina Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper is not going to allow the GOP to hold their convention in Charlotte in August without COVID-19 precautions, including limited capacity and social distancing.
North Carolina's Democratic governor, Roy Cooper, on Tuesday rejected the GOP’s plans for a full-fledged convention in Charlotte, telling Republican officials the only way the event would move forward is with proper health protocols in place.
“The people of North Carolina do not know what the status of COVID-19 will be in August, so planning for a scaled-down convention with fewer people, social distancing and face coverings is a necessity," Cooper wrote in a letter to the Republican National Committee.
The letter is a rebuke of the fully-attended convention that the RNC and President Trump have been pushing for despite concerns about spread of the coronavirus. In previous meetings with the Democratic-led state administration, GOP officials made clear the president’s desire for a 50,000-person convention without social distancing or mask-wearing measures and full-capacity hotels, restaurants and bars.
In a tit-for-tat that has dragged on for weeks, each side has pressed the other for answers on how the convention would be carried out safely — to no avail.
North Carolina Health and Human Services secretary Mandy Cohen sent a letter to RNC officials on May 27 in response to a series of tweets from President Donald Trump that threatened to pull the convention out of North Carolina. She requested a contingency plan from Republicans for how they would carry out a safe convention in line with CDC guidelines, saying the Coca-Cola 600 race held in Charlotte in late May was required to provide the same guidance.
In a written response, GOP officials outlined their convention safety protocol that included a list of measures they planned to take, including extensive sanitation measures and daily temperature checks for all who enter the Spectrum Arena.
On Friday, RNC Chair McDaniel told former Republican North Carolina governor Pat McCrory that they would wait until Wednesday for Cooper to further outline health and safety measures complete enough to “guarantee” the convention’s path forward.
Cooper's latest letter is sure to disappoint national Republicans again. “As much as we want the conditions surrounding COVID-19 to be favorable enough for you to hold the Convention you describe in late August, it is very unlikely,” Cooper wrote. “Neither public health officials nor I will risk the health and safety of North Carolinians by providing the guarantee you seek.”
The Republican response is to continue to threaten to move the convention to friendlier confines of a state with a Republican governor who will bend the knee to King Donald the Orange.
Republican National Committee officials are considering Nashville and other locations as potential sites for the GOP convention amid a standoff with North Carolina over whether it will allow the party to hold it in Charlotte as planned.
Party officials are expected to make a trip to Nashville later this week, likely Thursday or Friday, according to a person familiar with the deliberations.
Nashville is one of several locations in which Republicans are expressing interest. Others include Las Vegas; Orlando, Fla.; Jacksonville, Fla.; and Georgia. All of the prospective sites have directly expressed interest in hosting the convention, and party officials say it’s likely they will visit several of them in the coming days.
“The President and Chairwoman have been clear on our intent to hold our convention in Charlotte. We are awaiting confirmation from the governor that the originally contracted convention can still be held at the Spectrum Center,” said RNC spokesperson Mike Reed, referring to committee leader Ronna McDaniel.
I fully expect the convention to be moved before the end of the month. Trump will demand it. He will not tolerate anyone standing up to his bullying and performative chaos, and Trump figures it will cost Cooper a second term in November against Cooper's Republican Lt. Governor, Dan Forest (Governor and Lieutenant Governor have always been separate elections in NC, which makes for some weird stuff like this.)
Of course, Cooper has a huge lead in the polls so far, ranging from anywhere from 14 to 27 points, mainly because Dan Forest is an unlikable idiot.
Good luck with that, Donny.