Putting a Coronavirus squeeze on the Democratic Governor of North Carolina, President Donald Trump said on Tuesday that he would give state officials one week to offer up assurances that Charlotte could host the GOP convention in August without unnecessary restrictions, or move it to another state.
"I'd love to have it in North Carolina," the President told reporters in the White House Rose Garden on Tuesday, as he pressed Gov. Roy Cooper (D) to make a decision on the convention, scheduled for August 24-27.
"I don't want to have it where we get there, and then they announce after all the money was spent, all the work was done, all the people traveled in, guess what, you can't put anybody in the arena, or you can put a tiny number of people in the arena,"
"All he has to do is tell us, and then we'll have to pick another location, and I'll tell you, a lot of locations want it," Mr. Trump added.
In Raleigh, Gov. Cooper gave no indication of any imminent decision, confirming reports that state officials had been in contact already with GOP officials about possible ways the virus might impact the convention.
"We're talking about something that is going to happen three months from now, and we don't know what our situation is going to be," Cooper told reporters on Tuesday.
Unlike other states, North Carolina has been struggling to get the virus outbreak under control, with elevated numbers of new cases and deaths in recent weeks.
In Mecklenburg County, which includes the city of Charlotte where the GOP convention would be staged, the rate of positive tests for the virus has been increasing, and hospitalizations have been increasing.
In the meantime, the Governors of Florida and Georgia quickly made clear they would be more than happy to help President Trump and the GOP by hosting the convention - instead of Charlotte.
"With world-class facilities, restaurants, hotels, and workforce, Georgia would be honored to safely host the Republican National Convention," said Gov. Brian Kemp of Georgia. "We hope you will consider the Peach State."
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