Cooper, the president tweeted, “is still in Shelter-In-Place mode and will not allow us to occupy the arena as originally planned and promised. It would have exposed beautiful North Carolina to the world and brought in hundreds of millions of dollars, and jobs, for the state. “
“Due to @NC_Governor, we are now forced to look for another state to host the 2020 Republican National Convention,” he said.
The tweets come after the Democratic Governor wrote in a letter to Republican National Committee chairman Ronna McDaniel and Convention CEO Marcia Lee Kellya who would like to continue the conversation with the organizers, but unless they offer a very different plan, the Charlotte’s chance, North Carolina, being able to host the August event, is “very unlikely”.
“People in North Carolina don’t know what COVID-19 status will be in August, so planning a reduced convention with fewer people, social distancing, and facial coverage is a necessity,” Cooper wrote. “We are happy to continue talking to you about what a reduced convention would be like and we are still waiting for your proposed plan for this.”
Two sources with knowledge have told CNN that despite the President’s tweet, it appears that the decision is not final. But sources say there have been tense conversations in the past 48 hours between the RNC and the governor’s office before Trump’s self-imposed deadline, which is Wednesday.
Following Trump’s tweet, Cooper said he was “unlucky” that no deal was made.
Emergency planning is to the point where party officials plan to travel to Nashville later this week to explore possible places, sources said, and could travel to other sites in the near future. Both Nashville and Las Vegas were potential host cities before the Republicans officially took Charlotte.
President McDaniel acknowledged in a statement after Cooper’s letter that Republicans are exploring alternative locations.
“We hope to continue the business of our convention in Charlotte, but we have an obligation for our delegates and nominees to start visiting the cities and multiple states that we have achieved in the last few days regarding hosting a historic event to demonstrate that America is open to business, “he says in the statement.
McDaniel also accused Cooper of “dragging his feet” in providing assistance to planners.
Before Cooper’s response, Michael Ahrens, a spokesman for the Republican National Committee, said: “As we have always said, we are committed to holding our convention in Charlotte, but we are still waiting for Governor Cooper to confirm that the convention we have there is can still hold an original contract. “
The planned trips, which were first reported by the Politician, are a clear attempt by Republicans to demonstrate that they are serious about withdrawing from the Charlotte Convention.
The Republican National Committee, in a letter from McDaniel, set a deadline for Wednesday to Cooper and North Carolina officials to decide what type of convention they will allow in the state this summer.
Trump, over the past two weeks, has started hitting Cooper over the convention drama, a strategy that Republicans have said appears to turn the Democratic governor into a scapegoat if the convention fails to go as planned due to the coronavirus.
Despite pressure, Cooper, who is about to be re-elected in November, has not moved from his position that the state of the pandemic will determine whether Republicans will be able to fully reunite in Charlotte.
“We are talking about something that will happen in three months and we don’t know what our situation will be regarding Covid-19 in North Carolina,” Cooper said last week. “We would like to reach a resolution that everyone can be reasonable about whether public health, safety, science and facts are the number one thing we are trying to do here.”
Cooper’s office did not immediately respond to CNN’s questions about the planned scouting trips.
Where Republicans were required to hold a largely unchanged person-to-person convention, Democrats were open to the possibility that the event could be significantly modified or completely virtual. Their Milwaukee convention was moved from mid-July to mid-August due to worries about the coronavirus in April.
This story and its title were updated with further developments on Tuesday evening.
CNN’s Kaitlan Collins contributed to this report.
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