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

US Probing Potential Bribery, Lobbying Scheme for Pardon
Political News
US Probing Potential Bribery, Lobbying Scheme for Pardon

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Justice Department is investigating whether there was a secret scheme to lobby White House officials for a pardon as well as a related plot to offer a hefty political contribution in exchange for clemency, according to a court document unsealed Tuesday. Most... Read More

Barr Appoints Special Counsel in Russia Probe Investigation
Political News
Barr Appoints Special Counsel in Russia Probe Investigation

WASHINGTON (AP) — Attorney General William Barr has given extra protection to the prosecutor he appointed to investigate the origins of the Trump-Russia probe, granting him authority to complete the work without being easily fired. Barr told The Associated Press on Tuesday that he had appointed... Read More

Former Cybersecurity Official Mulls Lawsuit Against Trump Attorney
Litigation
Former Cybersecurity Official Mulls Lawsuit Against Trump Attorney
December 1, 2020
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON -- A former Trump administration head of cybersecurity is considering legal action against a lawyer for the president who said Monday he should be executed. The dispute arose from President Donald Trump’s allegations of voter fraud during the presidential election he lost last month. Christopher... Read More

DelBene Elected Chair as Moderate New Democrat Coalition Selects Leadership Team
Congressional Caucuses
DelBene Elected Chair as Moderate New Democrat Coalition Selects Leadership Team
December 1, 2020
by Dan McCue

WASHINGTON - Rep. Suzan DelBene, of Washington State, was unanimously elected Tuesday to serve as the next chair of the New Democrat Coalition. In addition, the coalition of moderate Democrats elected five individuals -- Reps. Ami Bera, of California, Sharice Davids, of Kansas, Annie Kuster, of... Read More

Biden Inaugural Committee Limits Donors to $500K
Political News
Biden Inaugural Committee Limits Donors to $500K
December 1, 2020
by Dan McCue

WASHINGTON - The committee raising money for President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration is limiting individual contributions to no more than $500,000, and corporate contributions to no more that $1 million, according to an official involved in the planning of the event. The contribution limits were initially reported... Read More

Barr Says Justice Department Finds No Evidence of Widespread Voter Fraud
2020 Elections
Barr Says Justice Department Finds No Evidence of Widespread Voter Fraud
December 1, 2020
by Dan McCue

WASHINGTON - Attorney General William Barr said Tuesday that the Justice Department has not uncovered voting fraud at a scale that could have affected the results of the presidential election. Barr's comments, made during an interview with the Associated Press, fly in the face of President... Read More

News From The Well
scroll top