On Monday, Trump threatened to pull the Republican National Convention (RNC) out of North Carolina if Gov. Roy Cooper doesn’t immediately sign off on allowing a full-capacity gathering in August. Trump’s tweets about the upcoming RNC come two days after North Carolina’s largest daily increase in virus cases yet.
Despite the coronavirus pandemic, the convention would bring over 50,000 attendees to Charlotte as North Carolina is a key state for Trump’s reelection hopes. But North Carolina remains under a gradual reopening of the state based on White House issued guidelines.
Trump wrote that if Mr. Cooper did not provide an answer “immediately,” he would “be reluctantly forced to find, with all of the jobs and economic development it brings, another Republican National Convention site. This is not something I want to do.”
Republicans are contractually bound by a 2018 agreement to hold the convention in Charlotte. But Mr. Cooper and Vi Lyles, the mayor, have said they will let health experts determine whether the convention can be safely held from Aug. 24 to 27.
Even before Monday, Mr. Trump made clear that he would blame Mr. Cooper and Ms. Lyles, who is also a Democrat, if the convention is altered or modified.
He told a writer for The Washington Examiner in a recent interview that he is a “traditionalist” and that he wants a typical convention. The Republican National Committee’s rules call for an in-person convention, and the party’s chairwoman, Ronna McDaniel, recently told reporters that a virtual convention held online isn’t under consideration.
In response to Trump’s tweets, Cooper’s office released a statement saying that officials are “relying on data and science to protect our state’s public health and safety”.
Numerous studies have shown that the virus spreads especially easily indoors — potentially risking the lives of the estimated 50,000 attendees and communities in Charlotte.
Yet, Trump continues to ignore the dangers of COVID-19 and pushes for a mass gathering as nearly 100,000 Americans across the country have died from the disease.
Unlike Cooper, Trump has made it clear that he is more concerned about resurrecting the economy ahead of November’s election than about the health and safety of the public.
Instead of taking shots at a Democratic governor while pushing for a full reopening of the country and vying for any political advantage, Trump needs to focus on the public health crisis.