Republican National Convention to Return to North Carolina after Trump Cancels in Jacksonville

Charlotte, North Carolina, USA. Image by David Mark from Pixabay 

It was just six weeks ago that Trump decided against holding the Republican National Convention (RNC) in Charlotte after clashing with Democratic North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper over what the president then deemed to be overly strict demands related to coronavirus. Trump and the Republican Party then settled on Jacksonville, in part because Florida was swiftly reopening the economy amid falling coronavirus cases. But soon changed after coronavirus cases then rose to record highs, all within a day.

Because of this, President Donald Trump announced Thursday, July 23 that the RNC will now return to Charlotte. Trump told reporters during a White House briefing, “The timing of the event is not right. It’s just not right.” Many people, including Florida Republicans, and even U.S. Representative Matt Gaetz, one of Trump’s closest allies in Congress, was shocked to hear about Trump’s decision. They apparently had no idea Trump had made the call.

The coronavirus pandemic wasn’t the only reason Trump made his decision the way he did. Jacksonville City Council President Tommy Hazouri made an announcement on Wednesday, July 22 stating he didn’t think it was a good idea to hold the event due to public health and safety concerns amid riots and looting occurring in different cities across the country. A poll recently released in June by the University of North Florida shows a majority of Jacksonville residents do not want the convention held in their city. 

Of the respondents, 51 percent said they were “very concerned” over COVID-19 transmission from large crowds arriving for the convention, while 20 percent were “somewhat concerned.” In addition, 65 percent said they were very or somewhat concerned about social unrest during the convention, and only 45 percent felt the event would bring positive media attention to the city. The poll also revealed, however, that 66 percent believed that the convention would deliver a positive economic impact.

As far as the location, it was previously scheduled to be held at the Spectrum Center in Charlotte. Other possible venues in Jacksonville were:

– The VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena

– The TIAA Bank Field

– Daily’s Place Amphitheater

– 121 Financial Ballpark

This is all according to an email sent at around 8:30 a.m. on Thursday morning by the Jacksonville Republican National Convention Host Committee.

The RNC is scheduled to still  take place from Monday, August 24 through Thursday, August 27. 

The technical aspects of the convention will take place in Charlotte, Trump said, and he will still deliver an address to Republicans. Trump did not confirm any official locations for where the event would take place.

“I’ll still do a convention speech, in a different form,” Trump said. “But we won’t do a big crowded convention, per se.”

Trump said he already informed DeSantis and other leaders. DeSantis didn’t mention the change in plans when he addressed reporters on July 23, though his schedule says he spoke with Trump and Vice President Mike Pence on the night of the 22nd.