Trump Calls Off Florida Segment of GOP National Convention

July 23, 2020by Zeke Miller and Brendan Farrington, Associated Press
President Donald Trump speaks during a news conference at the White House, Thursday, July 23, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump’s hopes to salvage a four-night celebration for his reelection campaign have been thwarted by spiking coronavirus cases across the Sun Belt, with the president announcing Thursday that he was calling off the public events of the Republican National Convention scheduled to be held in Florida.

Trump had already moved the convention from North Carolina and dramatically scaled back its programming and attendance in Jacksonville in an effort to keep it on track. But the nights of ‘infomercial” programming and parties appeared to be both a health and political risk to Trump and his advisers, who feared that going forward with the event, set to draw more than 10,000 people, would ultimately backfire on the president.

“It’s a different world, and it will be for a little while,” Trump said, explaining his decision during one of his newly resuscitated White House briefings on the coronavirus. “To have a big convention is not the right time.”

A small subset of GOP delegates will still formally renominate Trump on Aug. 24 in Charlotte, the original host city before Trump moved the ceremonial portions of the GOP convention to Florida last month amid a dispute with North Carolina’s Democratic leaders over holding an event indoors with maskless supporters. That event is scheduled to last just four hours in the morning.

Trump’s plans for the Florida convention were scaled back almost as quickly as the move was announced, as virus cases spiked in Florida and much of the country over the last month.

Trump said he would deliver an acceptance speech in an alternate form, potentially online.

Trump said thousands of his supporters and delegates wanted to attend the events in Florida, but “I just felt it was wrong” to gather them in a virus hot spot. Some of them would have faced quarantine requirements when they returned to their home states from the convention.

“We didn’t want to take any chances,” he added. “We have to be vigilant. We have to be careful, and we have to set an example.”

Democrats will hold an almost entirely virtual convention Aug. 17-20 in Milwaukee using live broadcasts and online streaming, according to party officials. Joe Biden plans to accept the presidential nomination in person, but it remains to be seen whether there will be a significant in-person audience.

The Biden campaign did not immediately respond to messages Thursday seeking comment on Trump’s announcement.

In recent weeks, Trump aides and allies have encouraged the president to consider calling off the convention, advising him it was not worth going forward with the event if the focus would be on the pandemic. Trump acknowledged that consideration, saying, “I could see the media saying, ‘Oh, this is very unsafe.’”

After a three-month hiatus, Trump has stepped back to the forefront of the government’s handling of the virus with regular briefings aiming to stanch an erosion of support in public and private polls that has followed the surge in new virus cases.

Trump said he did not cancel the event at the request of local officials, but the Jacksonville City Council was set to meet Friday to discuss safety concerns around the convention.

Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry, who is a former chair of the Florida Republican Party, said he appreciated Trump “putting health and public safety first.”

“I know this was a difficult decision and just demonstrates and reaffirms once again his commitment to Jacksonville, the state of Florida and the people of the United States of America,” he said. “I’m grateful for him and his leadership, and this was the right way to move forward.”

Joe Gruters, current chair of the Florida Republican Party and a state senator from Sarasota, called it a “selfless move that he canceled.”

“Having our home-state candidate was going to be a really big deal for Florida, but listen, he had it right,” Gruters said. “At the end of the day, it’s about safety.”

More than 10,000 people were expected in Jacksonville — already a fraction of the number that would attend a normal convention. Only 336 delegates will be allowed to participate in Charlotte under extraordinary procedures approved last month by the Republican National Committee. The balance of the more than 2,500 delegates will vote by proxy.

___

Farrington reported from Tallahassee, Fla.

2020 Elections

Presidents’ Feuds With Press, From America’s Earliest Days
Media
Presidents’ Feuds With Press, From America’s Earliest Days
December 2, 2020
by Kate Michael

WASHINGTON — While it may seem that the White House’s relationship with the media is in an appalling state, Historian Harold Holzer claims that the president vs. press feud is actually nothing new. In fact, President Trump’s antagonism barely measures up to several past occupiers of... Read More

Hart Mounts Challenge to Outcome in Iowa's Second District
State News
Hart Mounts Challenge to Outcome in Iowa's Second District
December 2, 2020
by Dan McCue

WHEATLAND, Iowa - Democrat Rita Hart is challenging the vote totals in Iowa's 2nd Congressional District, two days after a state board certified Republican Mariannette Miller-Meeks the winner in a contest that came down to just six votes. The race is the closest federal election in... Read More

House Releases 2021 Legislative Calendar
Congress
House Releases 2021 Legislative Calendar
December 2, 2020
by Dan McCue

WASHINGTON - The first session of the 117th Congress will convene at noon on a Sunday in January and have an extra-long August recess, according to the House calendar released by Majority Leader Steny Hoyer on Wednesday. And of course, the chamber will continue its current... Read More

Murphy, Panetta Named House Chief Deputy Whips for 117th Congress
Congressional Caucuses
Murphy, Panetta Named House Chief Deputy Whips for 117th Congress
December 2, 2020
by Dan McCue

WASHINGTON -- Reps. Stephanie Murphy, of Florida, and Jimmy Panetta, of California, have been named chief deputy whips for the 11th Congress, House Majority Whip James Clyburn announced Wednesday. In addition, Clyburn announced that Reps. G.K. Butterfield, of North Carolina, and Jan Schakowsky, of Illinois, have... Read More

BPC Launches Academic Leaders Task Force on Campus Free Expression
Education
BPC Launches Academic Leaders Task Force on Campus Free Expression
December 2, 2020
by Sara Wilkerson

WASHINGTON -- As part of the official launch of its Academic Leaders Task Force on Campus Free Expression Initiative, the Bipartisan Policy Center, a Washington, D.C., think tank dedicated to bipartisanship, hosted a roundtable discussion on campus free expression faced by today’s education leaders featuring members... Read More

Trump Era Court Battles Weaken Congressional Power
Political News
Trump Era Court Battles Weaken Congressional Power

WASHINGTON — Congress will emerge from the Trump administration with weakened power to check a president or oversee the operation of the federal government, the most consequential fallout experts see for lawmakers after four years of nearly constant high-profile courtroom showdowns with a defiant president. Democratic lawmakers often had... Read More

News From The Well
scroll top