Trump argued that Cooper is “unable to guarantee” that the arena can be filled to capacity.
“I love the Greater State of North Carolina, to the point that I insisted on holding the Republican National Convention in Charlotte in late August,” Trump said in a series of tweets. “Unfortunately, the Democratic governor, @RoyCooperNC is still in the mood for Shutdown and is unable to guarantee that we will be allowed full presence in the arena by August. In other words, we would spend millions of dollars building the Arena according to one very high standard even knowing if the democratic governor would allow the Republican party to completely occupy space. “
He continued, “Plans have been made by many thousands of enthusiastic Republicans, and others, to head to beautiful North Carolina in August. The Governor must immediately receive an answer as to whether or not the space is completely occupied. Otherwise , we will be reluctant to find, with all the work and economic development that it entails, another site of the Republican National Convention. This is not something I want to do. Thanks and I LOVE the people of North Carolina! “
The tweets completely overshadowed party officials and those involved in planning the convention, who repeatedly claimed that health and safety will come first. Officials insisted that convention planning is on track.
However, Vice President Mike Pence echoed Trump on Monday, telling Fox News that the convention could be moved “if necessary” and listing some states that could be alternative locations.
“It’s a problem that we talked about because these national conventions literally take many months to get organized and prepared and there have been across the country – think of Texas, think of Florida, Georgia, the last two states that I have visited the last Once a week that has made huge progress in reopening their communities and reopening their economies, “said Pence.
Pence said that Trump’s Cooper request for “was very reasonable.”
“We all want to be in Charlotte, we love North Carolina, but making sense now is absolutely essential because of the rules and regulations that are involved and we look forward to working with Governor Cooper, getting a quick response, and if necessary, moving the national convention to a state that is ahead of the reopening and can confidently say that we can gather there, “he said.
The Republican National Committee and the Convention did not immediately respond to CNN’s request for comments and questions about the prospects of another venue being discussed. A Trump campaign official referred the President’s tweets and vice president’s comments on CNN to the CNN, refusing to respond to CNN’s investigation into whether the campaign had received a warning that Trump’s tweets would arrive.
While the President asked for “a guarantee” from North Carolina, this suggestion overlooks the uncertainty surrounding the summer levels of the coronavirus.
Cooper, who is awaiting re-election in November, announced last week that the state will move on to the next phase of its reopening plan, with restaurants, barber shops and salons between locations that may open with restrictions on Friday night, while gyms, bars and movies theaters will remain closed.
Both Cooper and the Democratic Mayor of Charlotte, Vi Lyles, have said that their recommendations and decisions on the convention will be guided by science, not by politics. Entrepreneurs see the convention as a potential lifeblood after more than two months of economic disaster.
The Republican convention, which will be held in the same uptown arena where President Barack Obama accepted his second term appointment in 2012, is inundated with uncertainty as party officials decide how to conduct a presidential campaign during a public health.
Cooper said the Republican rally will be treated like any other major event and it is unclear whether the concerts or the NFL will return this summer and fall. Crowds are still limited to 10 people, on the governor’s orders, with further stages of reopening still to come.
“Right now we don’t think we have to move to an alternative plan, but obviously we will monitor the circumstances and adapt accordingly,” he said at a conference. McDaniel also said: “We won’t be holding a virtual convention.”
It is unclear what the aspect of an adapted GOP convention might be and how the guidelines on social distancing will be observed in the coming months. A “traditional convention” typically consists of thousands of supporters gathered in an arena, including key party officials, during the formal appointment process.
Trump’s tweets come amid criticism for his weekend spent playing golf at his club in Virginia and hours before he is set to commemorate Memorial Day by attending a flower wreath at Arlington National Cemetery and a ceremony at Fort McHenry in Baltimore.
This story was updated with further developments on Monday.
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