President Donald Trump suggested to Voice of America host Greta Van Susteren on Tuesday that the 2020 Republican Convention in Jacksonville, Florida, which was previously scheduled to take place in North Carolina, could undergo alternative arrangements should the coronavirus pandemic make the current plans unfeasible.
“If the numbers continue to go up in Florida, and they continue to spike — may be testing or whatever but numbers going up — would you consider not having as big a convention,” Susteren asked Trump during an interview at the White House, reports 1011Now.
“Well, we’re always looking at different things,” responded Trump, who explained that the first location choice of North Carolina fell through amidst coronavirus concerns. “Then we went to Florida, and when we went, we signed a few weeks ago, it looked good, and now all of a sudden it’s spiking up a little bit.”
While Trump did not detail any alternative plans, he maintained that the GOP is “very flexible,” and that the timing of the convention will be key.
The convention, which is planned for late-August, was scheduled to happen in North Carolina until 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.”
As The Daily Wire previously reported, GOP Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel criticized the governor’s decision at the time, saying that convention attendees were “ready to go and fill their hotels and fill their restaurants, and he made a decision politically to not help us. I know that if I were the DNC it would have been a different decision.”
Politico reports that “Republicans familiar with the event’s planning” have been working on back-up plans should the full convention become unfeasible. Those plans have not yet been publicly advertised, at least for the time being. However, the news agency notes that the GOP has already said in a memo that “everyone attending the convention within the perimeter will be tested and temperature checked each day.”
While five GOP senators have expressed that they will not be attending the convention — per The Washington Post’s count — only one person, Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA), 86, has cited coronavirus concerns as their 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, told reporters in a conference call Monday, reports the Des Moines Register.