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The Republican National Convention will no longer be held in Charlotte, President Donald Trump said on Twitter on Tuesday, although no one seems to have informed the city of Charlotte.
Trump announced the decision in a series of angry tweets on Tuesday, blaming the move on North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper, a Democrat. Because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Cooper has refused to sign off on the full-capacity convention that Trump and the Republican National Committee have demanded. The convention is scheduled for August 24-27 at the Spectrum Center, the home arena of the NBA’s Charlotte Hornets.
“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 said. “Because of @NC_Governor, we are now forced to seek another State to host the 2020 Republican National Convention.”
Cooper responded with a tweet of his own on Tuesday night.
“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,” Cooper responded in a tweet. “Protecting public health and safety during this pandemic is a priority.”
Despite Trump’s announcement, the city of Charlotte said it hadn’t yet received official notification from the RNC “regarding its intent for the location of the convention,” and that the city attorney would “be in contact with the attorneys for the RNC to understand their full intentions.”
Alternate locations being considered by the RNC include Nashville, Jacksonville, Orlando, Las Vegas, and Georgia, Politico reported on Tuesday. An RNC spokesperson told Axios that the RNC still wants to conduct “official business” in Charlotte, but that speeches and other parts of the convention recognizable to most people would be held somewhere else.
Contrary to Trump’s claims that North Carolina is still in “shelter in place” mode, the state is currently in phase two of reopening, which prohibits indoor gatherings of over 10 people and limits restaurants to 50% capacity. Bars still haven’t been allowed to reopen.
The capacity of the Spectrum Center in Charlotte is roughly 20,000. A letter from the RNC to Cooper on May 30 demanded a “full convention” accommodating more than 19,000 people, as well as hotels, restaurants, and bars at full capacity.
Despite the fact that North Carolina is slowly reopening, the pandemic is still very much a reality in the state. Since Cooper lifted the state’s stay at home order on May 20, the number of new COVID-19 cases has risen by 7%, according to ProPublica’s reopening tracker. The state has seen 29,889 positive cases and 921 deaths, and 716 people are currently hospitalized, according to the state health department.
Public health experts have also suggested that there could be a spike in cases in the wake of the protests against the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. In North Carolina, there have been large protests in many of the state’s largest cities, including Charlotte, Raleigh, Durham, Greensboro, Asheville, and Fayetteville.
Cover: President Donald Trump speaks in the Rose Garden of the White House, Monday, June 1, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)