Cooper wants safety plans for RNC as Trump threatens to relocate event

Cheryl Sanders
May 28, 2020

Kemp on Tuesday offered Georgia as a potential replacement site.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis told reporters Tuesday that "Florida would love" to host the convention and vowed that it could be done "in accordance with whatever safety requirements".

Plans have been underway for more than a year to hold the convention in Charlotte, but Trump and national Republican officials have expressed concerns that local officials may not allow gatherings of that size during the pandemic. "We are looking at these objective measures that everybody can see - that the public can examine".

Then at a news conference Tuesday, Cooper jabbed back at Trump saying that pandemic responses can not be "political".

Mr. Trump started rumbling about the GOP convention this month when he suggested that Mr. Cooper was using the coronavirus as an excuse to hurt the convention.

Georgia, Florida, and Texas have all made headlines for reopening more rapidly than many other states across the country, and have been able to avoid any coronavirus catastrophes. "We are talking about something that's going to happen three months from now and we don't know what our situation is going to be regarding covid 19 in North Carolina." he said. If not, we will be reluctantly forced to find, with all of the jobs and economic development it brings, another Republican National Convention site.

Mr. Cooper has begun reopening North Carolina businesses and recreational activities that were shut down March 27 to slow the spread of COVID-19. "Now, if he can't do it, if he feels that he's not going to do it, all he has to do is tell us and then we'll have to pick another location", the president said. "We hope you will consider the Peach State, @realdonaldtrump!"

David Shafer, chairman of Georgia's state Republican Party, said in a text message that he spoke to Kemp on Tuesday morning.

"With world-class facilities, restaurants, hotels, and workforce, Georgia would be honored to safely host the Republican National Convention", Kemp tweeted Tuesday. "We're now working to make sure that we are putting contingencies together that we can, to put the safety of our convention goers first and foremost, but a lot of it is going to frankly come down to guidance from the governor and the mayor". "We look forward to the back-and-forth on that".

President trump said if the RNC could not be held with full occupancy, he will move it to another place in August.

North Carolina is operating in phase two of its reopening plan, with any groups advised to be limited under 10 people while inside.

"I think it will be good for the people of Florida", DeSantis said.

As it tried to nail down convention plans, the Trump campaign announced it was promoting two veteran political aides to senior leadership roles.

Moving a convention isn't unprecedented, but it's been a long time. But conventions have gotten vastly more complicated since then.

Cooper told CNN last week that he supported holding the convention in Charlotte but would let the science dictate the restrictions. He's retired now, but told NPR he'd expect the plans are already in place for lodging, transportation and security for the massive event.

Of course, as most Americans know all too well right now, long-term planning is almost impossible in the face of an unpredictable and, at least in modern times, unprecedented pandemic.

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