Had long planned to have the Republican National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, a place I love. Now, @NC_Governor Roy Cooper and his representatives refuse to guarantee that we can have use of the Spectrum Arena - Spend millions of dollars, have everybody arrive, and...— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 3, 2020
...then tell them they will not be able to gain entry. Governor Cooper is still in Shelter-In-Place Mode, and not allowing us to occupy the arena as originally anticipated and promised. Would have showcased beautiful North Carolina to the World, and brought in hundreds of...— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 3, 2020
...millions of dollars, and jobs, for the State. Because of @NC_Governor, we are now forced to seek another State to host the 2020 Republican National Convention.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 3, 2020
Following the president's tweet, an RNC official shared a statement, clarifying that the RNC is hoping to still host official business for the convention in Charlotte, and hold the president's formal nomination elsewhere.
"Due to the directive from the governor that our convention cannot go on as planned as required by our rules, the celebration of the president's acceptance of the Republican nomination will be held in another city. Should the governor allow more than 10 people in a room, we still hope to conduct the official business of the convention in Charlotte," the statement said.
In response to Trump's tweets, Cooper issued the following statement Tuesday night: "We have been committed to a safe RNC convention in North Carolina and it's unfortunate they never agreed to scale down and make changes to keep people safe. Protecting public health and safety during this pandemic is a priority."
The City of Charlotte tweeted that the city has a contract in place with the RNC and "the City Attorney will be in contact with the attorneys for the RNC to understand their full intentions."
That was after earlier comments from Cooper that came in a written response to the RNC, which days ago submitted safety guidelines in hopes of staging a full convention inside the Spectrum Center.
"The people of North Carolina do not know what the status of COVID-19 will be in August, so planning for a scaled-down convention with fewer people, social distancing and face coverings is a necessity," Cooper wrote.
The RNC was asking for approval of the following safety protocols by the governor:
- Pre-travel health surveys through our partnership with local health care providers
- Daily health care questionnaires delivered via an app
- Thermal scans of all mandatory attendees prior to boarding sanitized, pre-arranged transportation
- Anti-bacterial gel will be widely available
- Aggressive sanitizing protocol for all public areas
- Our planned transportation buses will be dropped off at the Charlotte Convention Center which will act as a mandatory hub for a final health care screening by health care officials
- All attendees would have to pass a clean health check prior to entering the dedicated chute to the Spectrum Arena -- where all attendees would then be processed through normal United States Secret Service screening with normal event queue lines
- Media suites and hospitality areas will be subject to food-service guidelines similar to any other restaurant
Despite the safety measures suggested, the Republican National Convention committee did not mention wearing safety masks or that attendees engage in social distancing.
Cooper's response mentions that he has spoken with Trump and other top Republicans about how to safely allow the RNC to happen in Charlotte in August.
Cooper wrote that he is happy to continue discussions with the RNC about what a scaled-down convention would look like.
"With the Nation, the State of North Carolina and the City of Charlotte still under states of emergency, it's important to conduct the RNC convention accordingly," Cooper said. "As much as we want the conditions surrounding COVID-19 to be favorable enough for you to hold the Convention you describe 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."
The RNC released a statement shortly after receiving Cooper's response accusing Cooper of dragging his feet on providing safety guidelines for the convention.
Cooper addressed the response during his Tuesday news conference. He pointed out that the president himself has not held any full rallies since the COVID-19 outbreak.
"I'm concerned about anywhere in our country where you have that many people in one place," Cooper said. "As I mentioned to the president in my conversation with him Friday night, I commended him for not holding those crowded rallies that he likes to hold. He has not held them since March, and that's a positive thing. And the reason for that is the concern of the health and safety of people who might come to these kinds of rallies."
He emphasized that he wants Charlotte to host the Republican event, but said it was impossible to assume a full-scale event without specific social distancing and face-covering requirements.
"I would hope that they would talk to Charlotte about a scaled-down convention," Cooper said Tuesday. "I think that's the prudent thing to do."
The conference was scheduled to start Aug. 24 at the Spectrum Center in Charlotte, which seats more than 19,000 people.
President Donald Trump has previously threatened to pull the convention away from North Carolina.
WATCH: Gov. Cooper's response to Twitter threats to pull convention from NC
North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy Cohen responded to the safety plan last week, saying the agency needed more information, including how many people will be in attendance.
"The CDC currently has interim guidance regarding mass gatherings which details a number of safety protocols that organizers of major events should utilize amid this pandemic," she wrote. "We would ask that the RNC further elaborate on its plans to protect convention participants and the people of Charlotte in accordance with the CDC guidance."
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