President Donald Trump has announced his final decision: the Republican National Convention events slated to take place in Jacksonville, Florida later this summer won’t be happening.
According to Fox News, the decision comes in light of a rising number of coronavirus cases in the Sunshine State.
The full convention was originally slated to take place in North Carolina, but the GOP reversed course earlier this year after the Charlotte venue failed to promise a full-capacity event amid the COVID-19 pandemic, as Fox reported.
Some aspects of the event were still slated to occur in Charlotte all along, and Trump indicated Thursday that those proceedings — including the formal nomination of the Republicans’ candidate for the presidency — will continue as planned. The same couldn’t be said for Florida, however.
“It’s just not right”
Despite calling Florida a place he loves, Trump told reporters at the White House on Thursday that the timing just isn’t right for in-person events in Jacksonville.
“The timing for this event is not right,” Trump said, according to a transcript provided by the White House. “It’s just not right with what’s happened recently — the flare-up [of COVID-19] in Florida — to have a big convention. It’s not the right time.” Instead, Trump said the GOP is “going to do some other things with tele-rallies and online.”
“I think we’re going to do it well,” he said, according to the transcript. “And I’ll still do a convention speech in a different form, but we won’t do a big, crowded convention per se. It’s just not the right time for that.”
The president went on: “There’s nothing more important in our country than keeping our people safe, whether that’s from the China virus or the radical-left mob that you see in Portland.”
“A second term”
Ronna McDaniel, chairwoman of the Republican National Committee (RNC), reacted to the news with a message of optimism. As Fox reported, she wrote in a tweet:
President Trump is focused on leading the American people during this unprecedented crisis, and his number one priority in this decision was the safety of the people of Jacksonville, the convention attendees, and all of the American people.
McDaniel also indicated that Republicans “support this difficult decision and thank Governor [Ron] DeSantis, Mayor [Lenny] Curry, and the people of Jacksonville for their hospitality.”
According to Fox, the Florida GOP expressed a similar sentiment.
.@RealDonaldTrump made a selfless decision by cancelling the FL component of @GOP Convention. He put the safety and wellbeing of Floridians first. His leadership will continue to energize voters and we look forward to helping him win FL on his way to a second term as President.
— Florida GOP (@FloridaGOP) July 23, 2020