We are not going to pretend to know exactly how the mind of the president works. However, we are going to go out on a huge limb and say that he’s probably got some sort of ulterior motive here. While we understand where Trump is coming from to a certain extent, it is too hard for a state governor to make any ironclad promises during the midst of a global pandemic.
No one knows how a state will be able to react to this sort of request, especially when we are three months away from the date in question. The state of North Carolina may have a Democratic governor but there is no reason to believe that they would intentionally suppress the attendance at their convention.
States love their tourism dollars and events like these draw in lots of visitors (and eyeballs). There’s not much to be gained by keeping people from attending any public event. Things can change a lot over the course of three months and that is something that the president would do well to remember.
He was the one who was tweeting that the coronavirus was nothing to worry about back in February. If anyone can appreciate how quickly circumstances can change, it would be him. In fact, there were no confirmed deaths within the United States at the time that Trump’s tweet was sent. While later investigations proved that this mindset was wrong, the point still stands.
Trump is also claiming that Governor Cooper is still in the mood to keep everything shut down. This does not seem to be the case, though. The state is currently in the process of reopening. Retail businesses, child care facilities, salons and restaurants have been given the go ahead to open their doors. The only caveat? They must remain at 50 percent of capacity or lower.
I love the Great State of North Carolina, so much so that I insisted on having the Republican National Convention in Charlotte at the end of August. Unfortunately, Democrat Governor, @RoyCooperNC is still in Shutdown mood & unable to guarantee that by August we will be allowed…
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 25, 2020
…made by many thousands of enthusiastic Republicans, and others, to head to beautiful North Carolina in August. They must be immediately given an answer by the Governor as to whether or not the space will be allowed to be fully occupied. If not, we will be reluctantly forced…
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 25, 2020
Movie theaters, bars and gyms remain closed. The first phase of North Carolina’s plan only took two weeks. It’s not like Trump can claim that the governor is intentionally slowing things down. The second phase of the state’s reopening plans are scheduled to last from two to five weeks. If the state is able to stay on schedule, phase three will be reached well before the convention begins.
The Coronavirus is very much under control in the USA. We are in contact with everyone and all relevant countries. CDC & World Health have been working hard and very smart. Stock Market starting to look very good to me!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 24, 2020
CNN reports that the party’s officials are completely blindsided by the announcement. They are still in the process of planning the convention but health and safety are always going to come first. The Republican National Convention is planning for all potential issues as well. If a limited capacity convention is the best choice, this is what will be done.
But behind the scenes, Republicans are looking at possible contingency plans, including limiting the number of people who descend on Charlotte to only delegates, and making alternate delegates stay home, according to interviews with a half-dozen Republicans close to the planning.
Mr. Trump, who was heavily involved in the staging of his last nominating convention, has even shown a new openness to participating in a scaled-down event. He has mused aloud to several aides about why the convention can’t simply be held in a hotel ballroom in Florida, given all of the health concerns and the fact that Florida is further along in reopening portions of the state…
[RNC chair Ronna] McDaniel and other Republicans have said that they have hired a medical expert and that they are consulting with the governor of North Carolina and the mayor of Charlotte, who have been focused on controlling the spread of the coronavirus. Local politicians in North Carolina, including Republicans, have expressed skepticism that the convention will be able to go forward as planned.
Contingency plans like these must be put into place well in advance. No one knows what is going to happen or what the state of North Carolina will look like by the time August rolls around. All of these concerns might seem rather petty by then or the idea of a mass indoor gathering could come across as foolish. There’s no crystal ball to let us know what to expect at the moment.
The Wall Street Journal does not seem very confident that the convention is going to be held. Events like these are known as “super spreaders”. Researchers are under the belief that mass gatherings were responsible for the explosive spread. Mass transit would certainly qualify and that probably explains why New York City is in such trouble.
This is why professional sports leagues are taking their sweet time to reopen and those that do will be re-starting play without fans. If the MLB and the NBA still have not resumed their seasons by the time August arrives, the Republican National Convention is not likely to unfold in the manner people have come to expect.
In the meantime, all anyone can do is wait. As the old song goes, this is the hardest part. If anything, Trump may be in the process of looking for a Republican state to move the convention to. All we know is that we won’t be surprised if the convention is held at Mar-a-Lago!