By WECT Staff | June 2, 2020 at 1:48 PM EDT – Updated June 3 at 5:17 AM
RALEIGH, N.C. (WECT) – President Donald Trump announced in a tweet Tuesday night that since North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper refused to guarantee full use of the Spectrum arena for the Republican National Convention due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the GOP is forced to find a new state for the RNC.
Earlier in the day, Governor Cooper said Republican plans for a full-scale national convention in Charlotte in August “is very unlikely.”
Governor Cooper responded by tweeting that his actions were intended to protect public health and safety.
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.
— Governor Roy Cooper (@NC_Governor) June 3, 2020
Earlier Tuesday, Cooper released the letter he sent to Republican leaders after the group said it wanted a “full convention” that included 19,000 delegates, alternative delegates, staff, volunteers, elected officials, and guests inside the Spectrum Center.
Republicans also required hotels, restaurants, and bars to be at full capacity for the convention.
“As much as we want the conditions surrounding COVID-19 to be favorable enough for you to hold the convention you describe in late August, it is very unlikely,” Cooper stated in the letter.
Cooper said RNC leaders initially acknowledged the need for a scaled-back convention to protect the health of participants as well as North Carolinians.
“Unfortunately, it appears that has now changed,” Cooper stated. “The people of North Carolina do not know what the status of COVID-19 will be in August, so planning for a scaled-down convention with fewer people, social distancing, and face coverings is a necessity.”
Cooper said his administration is open to continuing talks about a scaled-down convention.
Ronna McDaniel, the chairwoman for the GOP, released a statement shortly after Cooper’s saying he is “dragging his feet on giving us any guidance as to how to move forward with plans to safely conduct our convention.”
McDaniel added that while the GOP still hopes to hold the convention in Charlotte, they have “an obligation” to visit the other cities and states that have reached out about hosting the convention.
Tennessee Governor Bill Lee during a Tuesday news conference acknowledged that his office has had contact with Republican leaders about the possibility of holding the convention in Nashville.
Lee also said that Republicans will be in Nashville on Thursday to tour the city.
Politico reports that Nashville is one of several locations that the RNC has expressed interest in. Others include Las Vegas, Orlando, Jacksonville, Fla, and Georgia. Republican leaders are likely to visit several of them in the coming days, according to Politico.
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