President Trump has twice changed the venue for the Republican National Convention, and now he might just stay home.
Talking Wednesday with reporters on the South Lawn before a day trip to Texas, Trump said he may move his convention speech once again because of the coronavirus pandemic and accept the GOP nomination at the White House.
“It might be. It’s something we are thinking about,” Trump said. “We’re picking a location fairly soon.”
The RNC just can’t find a home for its quadrennial convention. First, the four-day soiree was set for Charlotte, NC, but the state’s Democratic governor said the gathering might not happen because of COVID-19. So Trump bailed on that state and announced the RNC would be held in Jacksonville, FL.
But then he scrapped that plan, too, deciding against hosting the convention in-person as planned.
“I looked at my team and I said, ‘the timing for this event is not right.’ It’s just not right with what’s happened recently, the flair-up in Florida, to have a big convention, it’s not the right time,” he said last week. “For me, I have to protect the American people. That’s what I’ve always done, that’s what I always will do.”
Trump did say that some festivities in Jacksonville will still occur, and the official activities that go on at the convention will still happen for select delegates. And Trump still plans to make a splash.
“I’ll still do a convention speech, in a different form, but we won’t do a big crowded convention per se. It’s just not the right time for that,” Trump said. “I care deeply about the people of Florida, and everywhere else, frankly, in this country, and even in the world, who would be coming into this state, and I don’t want to do anything to upset it.”
At a Tuesday press conference, Trump was noncommittal on going to Charlotte. Asked to confirm he would travel there, Trump said, “Anybody have any ideas? We’ll be announcing it very soon.”
Meanwhile, Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez says the party’s convention will still take place next month in Milwaukee, but the event will be scaled down because of fears of COVID-19.
“We are putting nobody in harm’s way,” Perez said last Friday on SiriusXM. “Safety is job one for us in this convention and that’s why it will be considerably smaller, but it will be no less exciting — not less inspiring because frankly, this is still the most important election of our lifetime.”
“We are anchored in Milwaukee and we will have exciting programming in Milwaukee. The vice president will accept the nomination from Milwaukee,” Perez said, according to Politico. Perez also said that the convention will be nearly entirely virtual and “have a lot less people at it” than previous years.
The Democratic convention will now be held Aug. 17-20, while the Republican convention will be held Aug. 24-27.