President Trump threatened to pull the Republican National Convention out of North Carolina if the thousands of expected attendees weren't allowed to gather in one facility, and now he's following through, NBC reports. In a series of tweets Tuesday night, Trump said he's making the move because the state's Democratic governor, Roy Cooper, will not guarantee that NC's coronavirus restrictions will have no impact on the event. An RNC official later confirmed that the celebratory portion of the event, at least, will be held elsewhere. The full statement from Trump:
- "Had long planned to have the Republican National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, a place I love. Now, @NC_Governor Roy Cooper and his representatives refuse to guarantee that we can have use of the Spectrum Arena - Spend millions of dollars, have everybody arrive, and then tell them they will not be able to gain entry. Governor Cooper is still in Shelter-In-Place Mode, and not allowing us to occupy the arena as originally anticipated and promised. Would have showcased beautiful North Carolina to the World, and brought in hundreds of millions of dollars, and jobs, for the State. Because of @NC_Governor, we are now forced to seek another State to host the 2020 Republican National Convention."
Cooper told the RNC earlier Tuesday that since no one knows "what the status of COVID-19 will be in August," when the convention is to be held, "planning for a scaled-down convention with fewer people, social distancing, and face coverings is a necessity." Politico reports that Trump wanted a 50,000-person convention with no social distancing or masks required, and no restrictions on capacity at restaurants and bars. But the RNC official noted that, "Should the governor allow more than 10 people in a room, we still hope to conduct the official business of the convention in Charlotte," with Trump simply making his acceptance speech elsewhere. Cooper's response to Trump's announcement: "We have been committed to a safe RNC convention in North Carolina and it’s unfortunate they never agreed to scale down and make changes to keep people safe. Protecting public health and safety during this pandemic is a priority." Sources say possible alternate locations include Nashville, Las Vegas, Orlando, Jacksonville, or somewhere in Georgia or Arizona. (Read more President Trump stories.)