Despite Trump’s threats, RNC continues convention talks with Charlotte

Despite President Donald Trump’s threats to pull the Republican National Convention (RNC) out of Charlotte in August, conversations to keep the convention there are ongoing.

City leaders continued discussions Monday with the RNC and state Republican legislators drafted proposed legislation to keep the convention in North Carolina.

Charlotte officials and RNC representatives have confirmed plans after a meeting last week to keep “the business portion of the convention in Charlotte,” according to a report by The Center Square.

What was proposed last week was holding part of the convention in Charlotte, while finding another venue somewhere else for Trump to give his celebratory speech where the event could be held at full capacity, was on the table.

Locations for the speech being considered included New Orleans; Dallas; Las Vegas; Jacksonville, Fla.; Orlando, Fla.; Savannah, Ga.; or Nashville, Tenn., according to media reports.

Republican National Committee chairwoman Ronna McDaniel told Gray Television that having a full convention was to show everyone that “America is open for business.” The Democratic National Convention was held online last week instead of in person in San Antonio.

Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper told RNC organizers last week that it was “unlikely” that North Carolina would be able to accommodate 19,000 delegates, alternate delegates, staff, volunteers, elected officials and guests who had planned on attending the Aug. 24-27 convention.

North Carolina, despite its significantly small coronavirus numbers, is only in phase two of reopening. The governor’s executive order, not based on science or data, still limits public gatherings to 10 people inside and 25 people outside, with restaurants allowed to be open at 50 percent capacity.

The House Republican proposed bill would allow the convention to take place at full capacity and allocate $50,000 from the General Fund to the state’s health department to cover safety protocols.

RNC’s safety plan includes having a health care screening center at the Charlotte Convention Center to provide health surveys, temperature checks and “aggressive” sanitizing protocols.

“The other cities are working with us very well who want this business and revenue and opportunity,” McDaniel said.

The host committee for the Charlotte convention estimates the event could generate between $100 million to $300 million from spending in the city, and neighboring communities would also see a financial benefit from increased tourism.

The RNC is contractually obligated to keep the event in Charlotte, according to City Attorney Bob Hagemann. If the RNC decides to pull out, it could be sued for damages, according to its agreement with the host committee, Charlotte, Mecklenburg County and Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority, signed in July 2018.

“The expectation is that the parties will perform as scheduled under the contract, so we would expect that since we haven’t breached the contracts, and I’m not aware that any of the other parties have, that the RNC would fulfill their obligations under the contract,” Hagemann said.



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