The saga of where the 2020 Republican National Convention will take place, and in what form, is something we’ve been following for months. Originally, due to a spat between President Trump and North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper, the RNC had decided to move most of the convention out of Charlotte, and settled on nearby Jacksonville, Florida, as a site for Trump’s convention speech.
However, the decision to try and scale up a massive event such as a national political rally with only months to plan, amid increasing Coronavirus infection rates in Florida, has taken loads of criticism.
With all the concerns piling up, the President, on Thursday, said he decided to pull the plug on the Jacksonville portion of the convention and will not hold any events in the Sunshine State:
President Donald Trump announced Thursday he is canceling the Jacksonville portion of the Republican National Convention that had been planned next month because of the coronavirus pandemic, a major setback in his effort to energize his struggling bid for reelection.
“The timing for this event is not right,” Trump told reporters at the White House during his latest briefing on the virus. “There’s nothing more important in our country than keeping our people safe.”
Trump said that he would deliver remarks to formally accept his party’s nomination for president but offered no detail on where or when that will happen. The abrupt decision was not only a significant blow to his campaign but also raised questions about the president’s narrative that the country is ready to reopen for business.
This past week itself has marked a shift for the President who seems to have changed his tune with regard to the concerns of voters over his handling of the Covid-19 pandemic. The President had been continuing to push for economies to re-open, and for life to resume to some kind of normal. In some parts of the country, that has happened, but in several states, mostly across the south and southwest, Covid-19 cases have continued to grow.
With the Florida component canceled, the convention will be back to Charlotte for most, if not all, the official party business and speeches:
Trump said convention delegates will still gather in North Carolina, where the official business of the convention was set to take place, and formally nominate him for reelection. Trump said he would announce additional plans in coming days.
“I’ll still do a convention speech in a different form, but we won’t do a big, crowded convention,” Trump said. “I care deeply about the people of Florida and everywhere else, frankly, in this country and even in the world who would be coming into the state. And I don’t want to do anything to upset it.”
The desire for Trump to deliver a high-profile convention speech to a packed arena must have become more of a political liability than a political boon. With the Democratic Convention moving to a virtual form, with very few people meeting in person, the GOP will have to follow suit in some regards, if not merely due to the guidelines and restrictions put in place by various jurisdictions, such as the City of Charlotte.
Exactly how the President will deliver an acceptance speech for his renomination in 2020 remains to be seen, which is just the kind of suspense and mystery that Donald Trump, the entertainer, seems to revel in.