US President Donald Trump said Tuesday that the Republican Party will be “forced” to find a new state to host their congress when North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper stands by his demand that party leaders give him plans for a scaled-down event amid coronavirus concerns.
Cooper, the president tweeted, “is still in Shelter-in-Place Mode and will not let us occupy the arena as originally expected and promised. Would have shown beautiful North Carolina to the world and brought in hundreds of millions of dollars, and jobs, for the state.”
“Because of @NC_Governor, we are now forced to seek another state that hosts the 2020 Republican National Convention,” he said.
The tweets come after the Democratic governor wrote in a letter to Republican National Committee Chairman Ronna McDaniel and Conference Chief Marcia Lee Kelly that he would like to continue the conversation with the organizers, but if they do not offer a very different plan, chances are Charlotte, North Carolina, being able to host the August event is “very unlikely.”
“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 painting is a necessity,” Cooper wrote. “We are happy to continue talking to you about what a scaled-down convention would look like and we are still waiting for your proposed plan for that.”
Two sources of knowledge told CNN that despite the president’s tweet, the decision does not appear to be final. But sources say there have been tense conversations over the past 48 hours between the RNC and the governor’s office before Trump’s self-imposed deadline, which is Wednesday.
After Trump’s tweet, Cooper said it was “unfortunate” that no agreement was made.
“We are committed to ensuring a safe RNC convention in North Carolina and it is unfortunate that they never agreed to scaling down and making changes to protect people. Protecting public health and safety during this pandemic is a priority,” Cooper said on Twitter.
Officials from the Republican National Committee are considering Nashville, Las Vegas, Orlando, Jacksonville and Georgia arenas to host their August conference if they fail to reach an agreement with officials in North Carolina, two Republicans familiar with planning to CNN.