Plans for a Republican National Convention in Charlotte remain in limbo.
In a letter to convention organizers, Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper said it “is very unlikely” the RNC will be able to hold the “full convention” it envisions for late August.
Cooper announced he would work with leaders to negotiate the terms of a convention and optional measures that put “public health, safety, the science and the facts” first.
“We have asked the RNC to present to us in writing, their proposals,” Cooper said at a press conference May 26. “We’ve had discussions with them about a very limited convention and all the way up and we want to see in writing what their plans are. We asked NASCAR to do the very same thing and NASCAR did a good job ... of executing their plan of face coverings, of social distancing, signage, cleaning.”
In a press conference on Tuesday, Cooper continued to insist he believes the only way the RNC can take place in Charlotte will be with a “scaled down” convention. He said the chances are growing less for the state to host the event as the president seeks.
The statement came after President Donald Trump threatened to move the convention to other states should the governor try to limit it. Leaders from Georgia and Florida offered their states as alternative sites.
But the convention conversation took a different turn on Tuesday.
Cooper shared the following letter he sent to convention organizers:
“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 conversation with you and with President (Donald) Trump Friday night, you want us to guarantee a full arena.
“We had appreciated your earlier acknowledgements that a successful and safe convention would need to be scaled back to protect the health of participants as well as North Carolinians. Unfortunately, it appears that has now changed.
“We still want a safe RNC convention in Charlotte that follows the health guidelines set forth in the CDC’s interim guidance regarding mass gatherings. In my conversation with the President, I commended him for not holding crowded political rallies since March because of the serious health risk that they would cause.
“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.
“We are happy to continue talking with you about what a scaled-down convention would look like and we still await your proposed plan for that. We also await answers to the safety questions posed by our state Health and Human Services Secretary, specifically regarding social distancing and face coverings.
“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. 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.”
North Carolina State Republican spokesman Tim Wigginton, said Cooper was being hypocritical with the decisions he is making regarding the convention. Wigginton responded to Cooper by issuing a statement.
“Just when we didn’t think Roy Cooper could not be more of a hypocrite, he surprises us yet again. Roy Cooper apparently has no problems allowing thousands of rioters to form mobs and destroy our cities. Roy Cooper even broke his own executive order that keeps North Carolina shut down to participate in the protests. However, he is deeply opposed to allow the Republican Convention renominate the Presdient of the United States with safety precautions implemented by health experts.
“Everyday it is becoming clearer that Roy Cooper is putting politics ahead of results. We deserve to know why Cooper gives free reign to crowds to gather to riot, but refuses to let citizens peacefully and safely renominate the president.”
Wigginton also said the GOP National Committee is still willing to bring the convention to Charlotte.
“The President, Republican National Committee and the North Carolina Republican party is full committed to hosting a safe and spectacular convention for all of our delegates, alternates and guests,” he said. “However, Roy Cooper seems to hell bent on turning away the hundreds of millions in economic stimulus because of his administration’s pervasive incompetence.”