Trump claims to want to protect Americans' safety, but he's demanding schools fully reopen when experts say it's not safe.
Donald Trump on Thursday announced he's canceling the Republican National Convention that he hastily decided to move from Charlotte, North Carolina, to Jacksonville, Florida, saying the surge in cases in the Sunshine State make it unsafe to hold an in-person event.
"I looked at my team, and I said, 'The timing for this event is not right. It's just not right with what's happened recently — the flare up in Florida — to have a big convention. It's not the right time,'" Trump said at a news conference. "It's really something that, for me — I have to protect the American people. That's what I've always done. That's what I always will do. That's what I'm about."
Trump added, "I care deeply about the people of Florida and everywhere else, frankly, in this country — and even in the world — who would be coming into the state, and I don't want to do anything to upset it."
Immediately after announcing he was canceling the convention because it was not safe to hold the event, he then demanded that schools fully reopen this fall.
"We believe many school districts can now reopen safely, provided they implement mitigation measures and health protocols to protect families, protect teachers, and to protect students," Trump said.
But leaders of school districts across the country say they simply do not have the infrastructure — such as enough space or teachers — to safely reopen this fall.
It's led major districts in large cities to announce either hybrid reopening plans — in which students are in the classroom part of the time and learning remotely part of the time to limit class sizes per public health guidelines — or using virtual learning until school officials can determine a safe reopening plan.
As for the convention, Trump's decision to cancel it is a total about-face from his previous rhetoric.
In April, Trump attacked presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden for urging the Democratic Party to move its convention online due to virus concerns.
"Joe Biden wanted the date for the Democrat National Convention moved to a later time period. Now he wants a 'Virtual' Convention, one where he doesn’t have to show up. Gee, I wonder why? Also, what ever happened to that phone call he told the Fake News he wanted to make to me?" Trump tweeted on April 6.
And less than a week ago, Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway was attacking the Democratic Party for planning a virtual convention with a small contingent of in-person attendees in order to try to prevent coronavirus spread.
"I read that the Democrats are going to reduce their convention to 300 people. That is a small second wedding where I come from," Conway mocked.
Trump, for his part, moved the convention from Charlotte to Jacksonville because North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper could not commit to allowing Trump to pack an arena in the middle of a pandemic.
He attacked Cooper on May 25 for not being able to make any guarantees on the convention, months before it was slated to be held.
The convention, however, was shaping up to be a disaster for Trump's already floundering reelection bid.
Due to an uptick in coronavirus cases, Jacksonville implemented the same restrictions on the gathering as Charlotte — such as limiting the number of attendees and requiring those in attendance to wear masks.
The sheriff in charge of Jacksonville said he couldn't guarantee the event would have adequate security.
And Florida voters didn't want the convention in their state, with 62% saying they felt it was unsafe to hold the convention in Jacksonville, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released shortly before Trump's announcement that he was canceling the event.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.