FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump pauses in front of a diagram while touring the Ford Rawsonville Components Plant, which is making ventilators and medical supplies, during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic in Ypsilanti, Michigan, U.S., May 21, 2020. REUTERS/Leah Millis

THE NEUTRAL ZONE

In a series of tweets Monday morning, President Donald Trump threatened to move the Republican National Convention from Charlotte, North Carolina, if Gov. Roy Cooper (D-NC) does not commit to allowing “full attendance” in August. The president remarked that Gov. Cooper was “still in a Shutdown mood.” On Tuesday, he gave the state a one-week timeline to decide if the convention could be held in Charlotte. However, Gov. Cooper said he is waiting on proposals from the GOP on how they plan to hold a full convention during the coronavirus pandemic before he makes a decision. Vice President Mike Pence supported the president’s message on Fox News, saying he hoped Gov. Cooper would have a “swift response.”

Both Gov. Cooper and Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles have said they would use “data and science” to make their decisions on how to proceed. Charlotte City Councilman Larken Egleston said “it would not be responsible” for the RNC to move forward as planned, noting, “it’s going to have to look very different than we thought it was going to, and the President should acknowledge that.”

RNC Chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel said “a lot of states” have extended invitations to host the convention if it is moved from North Carolina. Republican leaders from around the country – including Gov. Brian Kemp (R-GA), Gov. Ron DeSantis and Rep. Michael Waltz (R-FL), and Texas GOP Chair James Dickey – have publically expressed interest in hosting the RNC. However, there remains some opposition among those states, generally around the same concerns surrounding the coronavirus and social distancing as Gov. Cooper.

President Trump denied that he was trying to move the convention to his Doral, Florida, resort after possible implications of those intentions were publicized in a New York Times article on May 21.

MEDIA PERSPECTIVE

NC governor faces GOP convention dilemma amid pandemic – The Hill – 5/26/2020
North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper (D) lifted the state’s stay-at-home order on Friday but has felt increasing pressure from President Trump to guarantee that all coronavirus restrictions will be lifted by the end of August when the Republican Party is set to have its national convention in Charlotte. Trump on Monday threatened to move the convention out of Charlotte, accusing Cooper of still being in “Shutdown mood.”

If Trump Moves RNC, ‘Our Whole Future Is Gone’ – The Daily Beast – 5/27/2020
The president of A Step Above Limousine in Charlotte is counting on the GOP mega event to boost his business after the coronavirus pandemic wounded his fleet during a normally busy time of year, when proms and graduations can help the transportation company’s bottom line. But after seeing Trump’s tweet pondering whether to take the party’s business elsewhere, Abusamak is fretting about how deeply the move could wound the city trying to move forward during the public health crisis, and what his company would do without the business he expected the RNC to bring in. 

North Carolina Rep. to Newsmax TV:  GOP Convention Likely to Remain in Charlotte – Newsmax – 5/26/2020
North Carolina Congressman Richard Hudson told Newsmax TV on Tuesday he was confident the Republican National Convention will be held as scheduled in Charlotte in August as the state emerges from restrictions imposed by Gov. Roy Cooper to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus. Hudson, a Republican who represents the 8th Congressional District just to the north and east of Charlotte, was responding to an introduction by Spicer & Co. host Sean Spicer that mentioned President Donald Trump’s tweet on Monday.

Report: Trump Blindsided RNC Planners With His Threat To Pull Convention From NC – Talking Points Memo – 5/26/2020
President Donald Trump reportedly went rogue on Monday when he threatened to pull the Republican National Convention out of its planned venue in Charlotte, North Carolina if the state’s governor did not roll back the restrictions of his stay-at-home order that would hamper full attendance at the convention in August. Unnamed sources told CNN on Tuesday that before Trump’s tweets on the issue, convention CEO Marcia Kelly and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows had actually had cordial conversations with Gov. Roy Cooper (D) last week about the logistics of holding the convention amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

Pence: We Will Move RNC Convention to a More Open State ‘if Needs Be’ – Breitbart – 5/25/2020
Not long after the president’s tweets, Vice President Mike Pence on FNC’s “Fox & Friends” shared some more insight into Trump’s tweets about the possibility of moving the convention. Pence said the Trump administration has been weighing the issue about moving to a state that is further along in reopening, but they are still working with Cooper because they “want to be in Charlotte.”

INFLUENCER PERSPECTIVE

Mark Knoller on Twitter, 5/25/2020: On @foxandfriends, VP Pence warns that if NC doesn’t accelerate reopening of its economy, the GOP might move its national convention in August to a state “that is farther along on reopening and can say with confidence that, that we can gather there.”

Rhiannon Fionn-Bowman on Twitter, 5/27/2020: Trump has little leverage to change the contract… A copy of the 94-page contract between #CLT, @MeckCounty & the RNC… shows two clauses that guarantee the city & Meck County the right to respond to public safety problems. #RNC2020 #NCpol #RNCinCLT #CLT

Donald J. Trump on Twitter, 5/25/2020: I love the Great State of North Carolina, so much so that I insisted on having the Republican National Convention in Charlotte at the end of August. Unfortunately, Democrat Governor, @RoyCooperNC is still in Shutdown mood & unable to guarantee that by August we will be allowed…

Chris Lu on Twitter, 5/25/2020: Amusing that Trump is now threatening to pull the Republican National Convention from Charlotte. Apparently, it was the only city that submitted a bid. Good luck finding a new location with three months to go.

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