Florida Republicans are lobbying to host the GOP convention this summer after President Donald Trump threatened to pull the event from Charlotte, where it’s scheduled to take place this August.
Trump issued his threat because he complained North Carolina is not far enough along in the reopening process amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Florida officials said they would welcome the event in their state after reports the president has mussed to aides why it can’t be held there and Vice President Mike Pence listed it as a possibility.
‘What better place than Florida for the Republican National Convention? @RealDonaldTrump’s home state and the largest swing state,’ Florida’s Republican Party wrote on its Twitter account.
Florida Republicans are lobbying to host the GOP convention this summer after President Donald Trump threatened to pull the event from Charlotte
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican, is a close Trump friend and ally
And Florida Republican Party Chairman Chairman Joe Gruters said the state would welcome the opportunity to put on the event.
‘The Republican Party of Florida would welcome the opportunity to host the Republican National Convention,’ he told the Miami Herald in a statement. ‘Florida is committed to ensuring a safe, secure and successful event for President Trump and all attendees.’
President Trump moved his officially residency to Florida late last year, listing his Mar-a-Lago residence as his home. The state is further along in its reopening efforts than North Carolina and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican, is a close Trump ally and friend to the president.
Helen Ferré, a spokeswoman for DeSantis told the Herald DeSantis’ administration is ‘glad to have conversations with all who are interested in working with Florida.’
Florida is also crucial to Trump’s re-election efforts. He won the state by less than 2 percent in 2012.
The state has hosted Republican conventions before. Tampa hosted the Republican National Convention in 2012 and Miami was the host in 1968 and 1972.
Republican National Committee chairwoman Ronna McDaniel pointed out a convention would bring a huge amount of revenue to the host state.
‘There’s a lot of states calling the president right saying “why don’t you bring that revenue to our state,”’ she told ‘Fox & Friends’ on Tuesday morning.
But she added the party and the president would like to keep the event in Charlotte.
‘We want to have it in North Carolina. The president loves North Carolina. It’s just the governor,’ she said. ‘He hasn’t given us the reassurances we need. We need to be able to move forward in a concrete way.’
Moving a convention to another state this quickly poses a series of logistical problems. Additionally, the Republican Party signed a contract with the city of Charlotte to host the convention there.
Trump on Monday upended that when he threatened to pull the convention if North Carolina’s Democratic governor will not ease stay-home restrictions and allow ‘full attendance.’
Pence followed up on the threat, saying the GOP might move to a state ‘that is farther along on reopening and can say with confidence that, that we can gather there.’ He mentioned progress in Texas, Georgia, and Florida, all states that are run by Republicans.
Trump specifically had to deny speculation he was hatching a plan to move the convention to the Trump golf property in Doral, Florida – where he had previously planned to host the G7 meeting before backing down amid criticism.
‘I have zero interest in moving the Republican National Convention to Doral in Miami, as falsely reported by the Fake News @nytimes in order to stir up trouble,’ Trump wrote. ‘Ballroom is not nearly big enough & would like to stay in N.C., whose gov. doesn’t even know if he can let people in?.’
Trump was referencing a passage in a New York Times article last week about the GOP’s plans to carry on with its convention and challenges it might experience. It said Trump ‘has mused aloud to several aides about why the convention can’t simply be held in a hotel ballroom in Florida, given all of the health concerns and the fact that Florida is further along in reopening portions of the state.’
Florida has hosted the Republican National Convention on previous occasions; the 2012 gathering took place in Tampa
Trump has complained that Democratic Governors, such as Roy Cooper of North Carolina, are playing politics by delaying the reopenings in their states
The Republican National Convention, where Trump will officially accept his party’s nomination for a second term, is scheduled to begin Monday, August 24.
Officials in both parties are pondering what their nomination conventions will look like as the coronavirus remains a consideration.
Both parties are considering scaled back events.
Political conventions bring thousands of people into a city, offering a boon to restaurants, hotels and other industries. Charlotte is expecting 50,000 for the August gathering.
But the mass of people would make socially distancing virtually impossible. And conventions are designed to be celebrations – parties take place in various locations around the host city each night, thousands of delegates and journalist gather in the convention center each evening, and the whole event is capped with a coronation ceremony, naming the party’s nominee to music, cheering and a balloon drop.
Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper has North Carolina preparing to enter a limited phase 2 of reopening, which would limit gatherings to 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors. Other states – like Florida – are further along in the reopening process.
Trump has previously complained Democrats will use the coronavirus to try and stop him from winning another term. He’s specifically targeted Democratic governors in battleground states.
‘They’re playing politics, as you know, by delaying the openings,’ he told the Washington Examiner in an interview earlier this month. He’s complained about the mail-in voting process, which he argues – without proof – increases the chances of voter fraud. He’s threatened to with hold federal funds from some states that are preparing for a general election held by absentee voting.
But Monday President Trump issued a new threat, moving his party’s convention.
‘I love the Great State of North Carolina, so much so that I insisted on having the Republican National Convention in Charlotte at the end of August. Unfortunately, Democrat Governor, @RoyCooperNC is still in Shutdown mood & unable to guarantee that by August we will be allowed … full attendance in the Arena,’ Trump wrote.
‘In other words, we would be spending millions of dollars building the Arena to a very high standard without even knowing if the Democrat Governor would allow the Republican Party to fully occupy the space. Plans are being … made by many thousands of enthusiastic Republicans, and others, to head to beautiful North Carolina in August. They must be immediately given an answer by the Governor as to whether or not the space will be allowed to be fully occupied,’ Trump said, expanding on the threat.
‘If not, we will be reluctantly forced … to find, with all of the jobs and economic development it brings, another Republican National Convention site. This is not something I want to do. Thank you, and I LOVE the people of North Carolina!’ Trump concluded.
Donald Trump threatened to withdraw the GOP convention set for August from the state
Democrats are planning their own convention in Milwaukee, set to begin August 17. Originally set for July, they delayed it until later in the summer, and are making contingencies for a virtual convention.
North Carolina is a key electoral prize. Trump holds a single-point lead in the RealClearPolitics average.
Conventions are planned more than a year in advance, and moving such a large undertaking, while securing enough hotel space for delegates, global media, and Secret Service, amid a pandemic would be a major logistical challenge.
The RNC inked contracts with Charlotte in 2018 that make it exceedingly hard to back out, even in the event Trump decided he wanted to go through with his threat to walk away from a key battleground state.
‘State health officials are working with the R.N.C. and will review its plans as they make decisions about how to hold the convention in Charlotte. North Carolina is relying on data and science to protect our state’s public health and safety,’ Cooper’s press secretary, Dory MacMillan, wrote on Twitter.
RNC rules state that the convention must be conducted in person, and the convention would have to meet to change the rules.