By Mark Jurkowitz | Outer Banks Voice on June 2, 2020
Governor Roy Cooper released a letter today indicating he is at odds with Republican National Committee and Republican National Convention officials over the conditions for holding the party’s convention in Charlotte from Aug. 24-27, given the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic. The standoff at least raises the specter of Republicans moving the gathering to another city.
In the letter dated June 2 and addressed to Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel and Republican National Convention CEO Marcia Lee Kelly, Cooper begins by writing that, ‘I am in receipt of your letter of May 30, 2020, demanding a ‘full convention’ which includes ’19,000 delegates, alternative delegates, staff, volunteers, elected officials and guests inside the Spectrum Center.’ You also require ‘full hotels and restaurants and bars at capacity.’ In my conversations with you and with President Trump Friday night, you want us to guarantee a full arena.”
The governor concluded the letter by responding that as much as he hoped COVID-19 conditions would be “favorable” for holding a full convention in late August, “it is very unlikely. Neither public health officials nor I will risk the health and safety of North Carolinians by providing the guarantee you seek.”
President Trump has threatened to move the Republican Convention from North Carolina if Cooper does not provide that guarantee and Fox News is reporting that Republican National Committee officials are looking at such cities as Nashville, Las Vegas, Orlando and Jacksonville as alternative sites for the convention.
In his June 2 press briefing held shortly after his letter was made public, Cooper in response to a reporter’s question, said that, “When the pandemic hit, we began having discussions with the Republican National Committee about a scaled-down convention.” But he noted that any conversation about that kind of convention “has stopped” on the GOP side, adding, “I hope they’ll continue discussions about a scaled-down convention in Charlotte.”
When asked about his thoughts should the nominating convention be relocated out of state, Cooper said: “I’m concerned about anywhere in the country where you will have that many people in one place.”