Trump threatens to move GOP convention over restrictions

President Donald Trump speaks with reporters about the coronavirus in the James Brady Briefing Room of the White House, Friday, May 22, 2020, in Washington.

Alex Brandon | AP

President Donald Trump on Monday said that he “will be reluctantly forced” to move the Republican National Convention if North Carolina doesn’t ease up on social distancing restrictions to allow full attendance. 

The convention is set for the week of Aug. 24 in Charlotte, North Carolina.

In a series of tweets, the president said that he advocated for the Republican National Convention to be held in North Carolina but railed against Gov. Roy Cooper for continuing to impose restrictions related to the coronavirus pandemic. 

“Plans are being made by many thousands of enthusiastic Republicans, and others, to head to beautiful North Carolina in August,” Trump tweeted.

“They must be immediately given an answer by the Governor as to whether or not the space will be allowed to be fully occupied. If not, we will be reluctantly forced to find, with all of the jobs and economic development it brings, another Republican National Convention site. This is not something I want to do.”

Trump’s threat comes amid weeks of him urging the reopening of the country. The president has called on governors to relax social distancing restrictions and allow the reopening of small businesses to prop up the economy, which has been ravaged by the pandemic.

But some states have continued to see the number of cases rise and health officials have warned that early reopening could lead to a second wave. 

In the tweets Trump complained that the Republican Party might end up spending “millions of dollars building the arena to a very high standard,” where the convention is to be held, without knowing whether Cooper will allow full-scale attendance. 

Cooper’s office and the Republican National Committee did not immediately respond to requests for comment from CNBC. 

But news outlets have previously reported that the RNC is committed to hosting its convention in August. “We’re forging ahead as originally planned,” a committee spokesperson told Fox News earlier this month

The Democratic National Convention, which was originally set for July, will now occur in August a week before the GOP convention. Organizers of the Democratic convention said they expect the delay to provide “more time to determine the most appropriate structure for this historic event.”

The outbreak has spread to dozens of countries, with more than 5.4 million confirmed cases worldwide and over 345,059 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. There are at least 1.5 million cases in the United States and at least 93,439 deaths, according to the latest tallies.

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