President Trump on Tuesday announced that the Republican National Convention would not take place in Charlotte, N.C., after Governor Roy Cooper said the state could prevent the convention from proceeding at full capacity due to the pandemic.
“Governor Cooper is still in Shelter-In-Place Mode, and not allowing us to occupy the arena as originally anticipated and promised,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “Would have showcased beautiful North Carolina to the World, and brought in hundreds of millions of dollars, and jobs, for the State.”
Governor Cooper, a Democrat, responded, “We have been committed to a safe RNC convention in North Carolina and it’s unfortunate they never agreed to scale down and make changes to keep people safe. Protecting public health and safety during this pandemic is a priority.”
A complete cancelation of the convention could cost the city of Charlotte tens of millions of dollars in damages, the Charlotte Observer reported last week. The contract between the city and the RNC does not include an “act of God” clause that could have exempted the city from liability because of the pandemic, although the Observer noted that many political events do not include such clauses in their contracts.
“It is not going to be easy for anyone to say ‘We’re out,’” said City Council member Ed Driggs, a Republican. “This is a legal, commercial and political minefield.”
The convention would have seen up to 19,000 people gathering in Charlotte’s Spectrum Center, but Cooper said earlier on Tuesday that it was “very unlikely” the convention would occur at full capacity. However, some Republicans could still gather to conduct “official business” in Charlotte about a week before the convention itself.
“Due to the directive from the governor that our convention cannot go on as planned as required by our rules, the celebration of the president’s acceptance of the Republican nomination will be held in another city,” the RNC said in a statement. “Should the governor allow more than 10 people in a room, we still hope to conduct the official business of the convention in Charlotte.”