North Carolina officials this week demanded a written safety plan from the organizers of the Republican National Convention, as the state’s Democratic leaders continue to clash with President Trump over the massive gathering slated for August in Charlotte.
“We’re talking about something that’s going to happen three months from now, and we don’t know what our situation is going to be,” Gov. Roy Cooper (D) said at a news conference Tuesday. “We have to have options regarding how this convention is going to be run.”
New cases of the novel coronavirus have been surging in Mecklenburg County, which includes Charlotte. Before the pandemic, Republicans estimated the convention would attract 50,000 visitors.
But on Monday, Trump threatened to move the event elsewhere if Cooper did not immediately agree to a full-capacity gathering. He repeated his complaint Tuesday, saying he needed certainty “within a week” and accusing the governor of “acting very, very slowly and very suspiciously.”
In a letter to RNC organizers on Monday, Mandy Cohen, North Carolina’s health and human services secretary, requested a written plan as soon as possible.
Although conversations were still ongoing, she said multiple event options were necessary because the “status of COVID-19 infections in our state and in the Charlotte area continues to rapidly evolve.”
As of Tuesday, Mecklenburg County had confirmed at least 3,400 infections — more than double any other county in North Carolina — and upward of 73 deaths, the Charlotte Observer reported. A third of the country’s cases were added in the past two weeks.
Asked about Trump’s tweets, Cooper said Tuesday he is “not surprised at anything that happens on Twitter.”
Republican governors in Georgia and Florida both said they would welcome the convention if plans for Charlotte fall through.