President Donald Trump on Monday warned North Carolina that if it will not let the Republican Party gather there for its convention in August, Republicans will find another place to meet.
Trump issued a Twitter ultimatum to Democratic North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper to give the GOP the all-clear, or face the prospect of losing the convention to another state.
“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 full attendance in the Arena,” Trump tweeted.
“In other words, we would be spending millions of dollars building the Arena to a very high standard without even knowing if the Democrat Governor would allow the Republican Party to fully occupy the space. Plans are being 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 to find, with all of the jobs and economic development it brings, another Republican National Convention site. This is not something I want to do. Thank you, and I LOVE the people of North Carolina!” Trump tweeted.
The Republican National Convention is currently scheduled for August 24 through August 27 in Charlotte, North Carolina. The Democratic National Convention is scheduled to take place the week before that in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
During a Monday appearance on “Fox & Friends,” Vice President Mike Pence said the ball is in Cooper’s court.
“It’s an issue we’ve been talking about,” Pence said, “because these national conventions literally take many months to organize and prepare.”
“There are states around the country — we think of Texas, we think of Florida, Georgia — the last two states I visited last week that have made a tremendous progress on reopening their communities and reopening their economies,” Pence said.
“I think the president is absolutely intent on ensuring that as we see our nation continue to make steady progress on putting the coronavirus epidemic in the past, that come this August we’ll be able to come together in a safe and responsible venue and renominate President Donald Trump for four more years,” he said.
“What you hear the president saying today is just a very reasonable request of the governor of North Carolina,” Pence said. “We all want to be in Charlotte. We love North Carolina.”
Pence said the White House looks forward to hearing from Cooper “and if needs be, moving the national convention to a state that is farther along on reopening and can say with confidence that we can gather there.”
Last Wednesday, Cooper said that North Carolina could enter Phase Two of his three-step reopening plan, according to The News & Observer. Phase Two relaxes restrictions and allows some businesses to open as long as they remain at 50 percent capacity.
“This virus is still a serious threat,” Cooper said. “But North Carolinians have made changes and sacrifices in their daily lives and that has helped to flatten the curve here. That means hospitals and the medical system can serve patients effectively for all kinds of illnesses including COVID-19.”
Phil Berger, a Republican in the North Carolina State Senate, said it was about time Cooper acted.
“I’m glad the Governor has responded to the calls of senators, small business owners, and unemployed workers to let them get back to work,” Berger said. “When I asked Gov. Cooper to reopen restaurants and personal care services last week, the Governor said it wasn’t safe to do so.
“But according to data for yesterday, when the Governor began notifying people of his decision, North Carolina had more cases, more hospitalizations, and fewer tests performed than when I issued my call last week. It seems strange that it was unsafe to reopen last week, but it’s safe to reopen now with worse numbers. This gets back to the central question of what strategy is driving the Governor’s actions. What goal does he think is achievable?”