4 Senate Republicans say they won't be at convention to nominate Trump

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Forty-nine GOP senators did not respond to inquiries about their plans.

Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley told reporters on Monday that he would not attend the Republican National Convention in August, missing his party's nominating event for the first time in 40 years. The 86-year-old said, "I'm not going to go because of the virus situation."

Grassley is one of only four Republican senators who have said that they do not plan to attend the convention, scheduled to be held Aug. 24-27 in Jacksonville, Florida.

The American Independent Foundation sent inquiries to 52 GOP senators about their plans for attending the convention; only three responded.

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A spokesperson for Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander wrote in an email, "Senator Alexander is an honorary chair of the Tennessee Trump campaign, but he will not be attending the convention because he believes the delegate spots should be reserved for those who have not had that privilege before as he has had."

A spokesperson for Sen. Susan Collins of Maine said that she will skip this year's gathering: "Senator Collins never made plans to attend the convention because she has never attended the national convention in years when she is up for election."

A spokesperson for Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski wrote, "While we do not typically share details of Senator Murkowski's travel schedule we can confirm that she does not plan to attend the convention at this time."

The convention was originally scheduled to take place in Charlotte, North Carolina. Upset that the state would not allow him to ignore safety rules instituted to curb the spread of COVID-19, Donald Trump announced in June that he would move most of the event to Jacksonville.

With the number of new coronavirus cases now spiking in Florida, Jacksonville has implemented regulations on social distancing and the wearing of face masks, which may still be in effect in August. A recent poll found 58% of Jacksonville voters do not want the Republican convention held there and 71% worry the packed gathering may further spread the coronavirus.

Many top Republicans skipped the nominating convention in 2016, citing an array of excuses for their absence during Trump's big moment.

A spokesperson for Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse said then that he would not be attending that convention and would "instead take his kids to watch some dumpster fires across the state, all of which enjoy more popularity than the current front-runners."

According to FiveThirtyEight, Trump's average disapproval rating is now 55.7%, with an approval rating of 40.6%.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.