Republicans plan to move 2020 convention to state with rising virus cases

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The RNC has reportedly made tentative plans to have Trump speak in Jacksonville this August, after North Carolina refused to allow a full convention without any virus safety measures.

The Republican National Committee is reportedly set to move its 2020 nominating convention to Jacksonville, Florida, despite the fact that the state is currently experiencing record-high levels of confirmed coronavirus cases.

The Washington Post first reported the change on Wednesday.

Donald Trump demanded last month that the RNC move the August convention away from Charlotte, North Carolina, after Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper refused to accommodate Trump's convention demands over concerns that the virus would spread easily among attendees.

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According to the New York Times, in a May 29 call between the two men, Trump blasted Cooper's decision limit attendance at the convention and require those present to wear protective masks.

Trump then said he would not speak to a half-empty arena, according to Cooper's spokesperson, insisting on "a full convention arena with no face coverings and no social distancing."

Cooper formally rejected those demands in a letter to the RNC days later, stating that without knowing the coronavirus situation in August, "planning for a scaled-down convention with fewer people, social distancing and face coverings is a necessity."

The Republican mayor of Jacksonville, Lenny Curry, has reportedly been lobbying the RNC to bring Trump's convention speech to his city since then.

The Post reported this week that the RNC plans to conduct mundane party business in Charlotte, but will move high-profile events, such as Trump's acceptance speech, to Jacksonville.

Florida, like several other states, has seen a rise in coronavirus cases in recent days.

On June 1, Florida had 56,830 confirmed coronavirus cases and at least 2,460 deaths. Ten days later, it had nearly 65,992 confirmed cases, according to the New York Times, and at least 2,764 deaths.

Florida is one of 11 states across the country that chose to reopen early, despite the ongoing threat, and are now seeing record high numbers of confirmed coronavirus cases.

Those states largely ignored the advice of health professionals like Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's leading infectious disease expert and a member of Trump's coronavirus task force, who warned that reopening too early could lead to "spikes" in cases nationwide.

"[T]he consequences could be really serious if cities, states, or what have you, jump over those various checkpoints and prematurely open up, without having the capability of being able to respond effectively and efficiently," Fauci said last month. "My concern is that we'll start to see little spikes that will turn into outbreaks."

The decision to tentatively move the RNC convention to Jacksonville is especially curious given the city has implemented guidance from the mayor limiting restaurants to 50% capacity and enforcing social distancing measures in order to slow the spread of the virus. Social gatherings in the city are only limited to 50 people.

Trump was initially expected to speak before a crowd of 20,000 at his speech in Charlotte before it was moved.

According to data from ProPublica, Florida has only met two of five criteria set forth by the federal government necessary to safely reopen large parts of its economy. The state continues to see an increase in the number of positive cases per 100,000 residents, as well as an increase in the percentage of coronavirus tests that come back positive, two key criteria for reopening.

Nationwide, nearly 2 million people had confirmed cases as of Wednesday morning, and at least 112,174 people had died.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.