Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) on Thursday did not commit to attending the Republican presidential convention, currently scheduled to take place in Jacksonville, Fla., in late August.
McConnell made his comments when asked by the Cincinnati Enquirer whether he would attend the convention.
Senator Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader, talked today in Kentucky about his stance on whether he will attend the Republican convention in Jacksonville, Florida. @Enquirer pic.twitter.com/m9Onp0pvzQ
— Chris Mayhew (@reportermayhew) July 9, 2020
“It’s a challenging situation, and a number of my colleagues announced they are not going to attend,” McConnell responded. “We’ll have to wait and see how things look in late August to determine whether or not you can safely convene that many people.”
Five Republican senators have confirmed that they will not attend the convention. Senator Chuck Grassley (R., Iowa) announced he would not attend because, at 86 years old, his age puts him at higher risk of coronavirus complications. Other senators not attending for various reasons are Lamar Alexander (R., Tenn.), Susan Collins (R., Maine), Lisa Murkowski (R., Alaska), and Mitt Romney (R., Utah).
The coronavirus pandemic has upended the 2020 presidential election by limiting the ability of voters to gather in crowds. President Trump’s campaign rally in Tulsa, Okla., last month “likely” contributed to a rise in local cases, according to Tulsa Health Department director Bruce Dart. The city has held other large events in the past month that also may have contributed to a surge in cases.
Republican Party officials are studying the option of holding the presidential convention at an outdoor arena in order to make the event safer to attend, the Washington Post reported on Thursday. Coronavirus is generally believed to spread more easily indoors than outside.