Sheriff says local police can't guarantee security at GOP convention in Florida


It's the latest blow to Donald Trump's plan to hold an in-person nominating convention in the middle of a global pandemic.

Duval County Sheriff Mike Williams cast doubt that he could provide security for the Republican National Convention next month, saying the short time frame and lack of concrete guidance make it impossible to come up with a plan.

"It's not my event to plan, but I can just tell you that what has been proposed in my opinion is not achievable right now ... from a law enforcement standpoint, from a security standpoint," Williams said on Monday during a news conference, according to Politico. Jacksonville, Florida, where the RNC is slated to be held from Aug. 24-27, falls under Williams' purview.

Williams' comments are the latest blow to Donald Trump's plan to hold a big event with throngs of supporters as he gives his nomination acceptance speech for his 2020 reelection bid.

Trump has been adamant about holding an in-person convention with thousands of attendees, despite the fact that the COVID-19 pandemic is raging in the United States, with coronavirus cases spiraling out of control in a number of states.

In June, Trump announced he was moving the convention from Charlotte, North Carolina, because the governor of the Tar Heel State could not guarantee that Trump could pack thousands into an indoor convention center in the middle of a pandemic.

Trump chose Jacksonville as the new location of the convention after Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis began easing some social distancing and public health measures intended to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

Yet since Trump made that announcement, Florida has seen the number of coronavirus cases skyrocket — with a number of hospitals in the state running out of beds to take care of the most critical patients.

It's led the city of Jacksonville to implement a mask-wearing ordinance, as public health experts say face coverings are one of the best tools to prevent the spread of the virus. (Part of the reason Trump moved the convention from Charlotte to Jacksonville was to avoid a mask-wearing order.)

The convention is also going to limit attendance due to the outbreak.

And the spike in cases in Florida may now force Trump to move the convention to an outdoor arena in late August, where average high temperatures are 90.9 degrees Fahrenheit.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.