Trump says he may move Republican convention from Charlotte

David Jackson, USA TODAY

WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump raised the prospect of moving the Republican National Convention from Charlotte, N.C., on Monday, complaining that North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper has maintained a lockdown of his state because of the coronavirus.

Republicans "must be immediately given an answer by the Governor as to whether or not the space will be allowed to be fully occupied," Trump said in an early-morning series of Memorial Day tweets.

Without an answer soon, Trump said, the Republicans will be "reluctantly forced" to "another Republican National Convention site."

Trump did not give Cooper a deadline, and he added that "this is not something I want to do."

The GOP convention is scheduled for the week of Aug. 24.

In the afternoon, Trump again took to Twitter to dispute a rumor that he wants to move the convention to the Doral golf club he owns in Miami.

“Ballroom is not nearly big enough & would like to stay in N.C.,“ the tweet said.

Cooper, a Democrat, has said science will dictate the reopening of his state, including mass meetings like conventions.

“I know people want their lives and their livelihoods back,” Cooper told reporters last month. “And I have a plan to do that. But first, we need to hit certain metrics because the health and safety of North Carolinians is our No. 1 priority.”

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In an interview in May with CNN, Cooper said: "This is not political. This is not emotional. This is based on health experts, data and science. ... No one is being favored or disfavored over the other."

Cooper representative Dory MacMillan said Monday that "state health officials are working with the RNC and will review its plans as they make decisions about how to hold the convention in Charlotte. North Carolina is relying on data and science to protect our state's public health and safety."

The state, which is undergoing a phased reopening of the state, does not allow gatherings of more than 10 people indoors. The Republican convention is expected to draw up to 50,000 to Charlotte, the state's largest city.

The Democratic Party, which is planning to convene in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, has pushed back its convention from July 13-16 to the week of Aug. 17, and it is considering scaling back those proceedings.

In his tweets, Trump accused Cooper of being in a "Shutdown mood" and said the Republicans cannot be guaranteed use of the arena and other convention facilities in Charlotte.

"In other words, we would be spending millions of dollars building the Arena to a very high standard without even knowing if the Democrat Governor would allow the Republican Party to fully occupy the space," Trump said.

Trump has mentioned the possibility of moving his convention before.

In an interview with The Washington Examiner, Trump said "we'll have a convention" and praised North Carolina. But he also criticized Cooper's administration of the state.

"It’s got a Democrat governor," Trump said. "so we have to be a little bit careful with that, because they’re playing politics."

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Donald Trump says he may move Republican convention from Charlotte