Republican officials have been eyeing the possibility of moving the planned in-person nominating convention outside should the coronavirus pandemic become too significant a barrier to the already planned festivities, according to The Washington Post.
The Post, citing “several officials with knowledge of the plans,” reports that party officials have looked at two stadiums. One is a minor league baseball park that seats about 11,000, and the other is a nearby football stadium that seats nearly six times as many people.
President Donald Trump recently shared that the GOP was considering unspecified options should the current convention plans become unfeasible, telling Voice of America host Greta Van Susteren that the party would be “flexible” when she asked about the increase of coronavirus cases in the area.
“Two Republican involved with the planning” also told the news agency that party officials were looking into the logistical challenges of moving the event outdoors. The Post reports that officials believe Trump will make the venue decision “in upcoming days.”
The convention, which was originally planned for North Carolina, underwent a venue change back in June after Governor Roy Cooper (D) informed the Republican Party in a letter that he could not guarantee the convention could be hosted in-full due to coronavirus concerns.
“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,” wrote Cooper in the letter. “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.”
While six GOP senators have expressed that they will not be attending the Jacksonville convention, only one person, Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA), 86, has explicitly cited coronavirus concerns as the reason for not attending the event.
“I’m not going to go. And I’m not going to go because of the virus situation,” Grassley, the oldest Republican in the Senate, and who has attended every Republican convention in the last four decades, said Monday, reports the Des Moines Register.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) declined Thursday to answer a question about his convention plans, but did say that he believes hosting the convention amidst the coronavirus pandemic is a “challenging situation,” and may not actually end up happening.
“A number of my colleagues have announced that they’re not going to attend, and let’s wait and see how things look in late August to determine whether or not we can safely convene that many people,” said McConnell.
Senator Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader, talked today in Kentucky about his stance on whether he will attend the Republican convention in Jacksonville, Florida. @Enquirer pic.twitter.com/m9Onp0pvzQ
— Chris Mayhew (@reportermayhew) July 9, 2020
The Democratic Party, on the other hand, plans to hold a virtual convention the week before the scheduled Republican convention, reports The Los Angeles Times.