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Jacksonville officials float ‘virtual’ GOP convention

Jacksonville officials tell Republicans planning Donald Trump’s convention coronation to ‘start thinking about going virtual’ and reveal overwhelmed police are ‘past the point of no return’

  • City officials in Jakcsonville say the GOP moved the Republican National Convention to the Florida city too late and they’re likely not to pull it off 
  • ‘If I were them, I’d start thinking about going virtual or scaling down even more than they’ve done,’ Jacksonville’s city council president told the Miami Herald 
  • Duval County Sheriff Mike Williams warned they were ‘past the point of no return’ of being able to get proper security protocols in place   

City officials in Jacksonville say the GOP moved the Republican National Convention to the Florida city too late and they’re likely not to pull it off. 

‘If I were them, I’d start thinking about going virtual or scaling down even more than they’ve done,’ Jacksonville City Council President Thomas Hazouri told the Miami Herald. 

Jacksonville’s Sheriff Mike Williams warned that they were ‘past the point of no return’ of being able to get proper security protocols in place to host a widely attended, in-person convention starring the president of the United States. 

President Trump pushed for the Republican National Convention to be moved to a city that would allow a full convention, with planning in works to have it in Jacksonville, Florida. But local officials believe that the move came too late 

Jacksonville City Council President Thomas Hazouri

Duval County Sheriff Mike Williams

Local officials including Jacksonville City Council President Thomas Hazouri (left) and Duval County Sheriff Mike Williams (right) have warned that the convention may need to be virtual because the event was planned too late 

President Trump is photographed accepting the Republican nomination in 2016 in Cleveland. Trump wanted the same fanfare at his 2020 nominating convention and moved the main events to Jacksonville, Florida after North Carolina's governor couldn't make guarantees

President Trump is photographed accepting the Republican nomination in 2016 in Cleveland. Trump wanted the same fanfare at his 2020 nominating convention and moved the main events to Jacksonville, Florida after North Carolina’s governor couldn’t make guarantees  

‘With less than 40 days until the expected Republican National Convention is slated to arrive in Jacksonville, I am compelled to express my significant concerns with the viability of the event,’ said Williams, the Duval County sheriff, in a statement. 

‘At this point, we are simply past the poitn of no return to executive the event with safety and security that is our oblication,’ Williams added.   

Hazouri said in his interview with the Herald that Republicans ‘need to have a plan A,B,C,D, and E,’ since time is tight and coronavirus cases in Florida continue to grow. 

The Republican National Convention was supposed to be in Charlotte, North Carolina, but President Donald Trump moved the main events to Jacksonville after being told by North Carolina’s Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper he couldn’t hold a large event without expressed COVID precautions. 

On Sunday night, Trump told supporters via phone that Cooper had tried to limit the Charlotte convention to ’10 people’ in a 19,000 seat arena. 

Cooper told CNN Monday this wasn’t true. 

‘That is incorrect,’ spokesman Ford Porter told the network. ‘The governor and state officials worked with the RNC to safely hold their convention and asked for written plans for keeping attendees safe.’ 

‘Instead, beginning on Memorial Day, the president and RNC staff demanded a guarantee that they could hold a full convention without social distancing or face coverings,’ Porter continued. ‘This was not a guarantee the governor could make, particularly months in advance.’     

In mid-June, the RNC announced that the main events of the August 24 through August 27 convention would take place in Jacksonville.  

Florida is a key swing state and Trump is supported by Florida’s Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis.  

Williams said he knew getting the RNC off the ground would be a ‘huge lift,’ but funding and planning where events would happen have also hamstrung the effort. 

‘With a growing list of challenges – be it finances, communication and timeline – I cannot say with confidence that this event and our community will not be at risk,’ Williams said. ‘With a timetable that was aggressive to say the least, the communication required to make critical steps come together just never seemed to gel.’ 

‘And still has not,’ he warned.   

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk