North Carolina Republicans to Vote on Keeping Convention in Charlotte

President Donald Trump participates in a briefing about Hurricane Dorian with North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper on Sept. 9, 2019. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (CN) — North Carolina’s Republican lawmakers are expected to pass a bill Tuesday aimed at hosting a full-scale Republican National Convention in Charlotte this summer despite coronavirus concerns.

Democratic Governor Roy Cooper told the Republican National Committee it is “very unlikely” that public health concerns over Covid-19 would allow for a full convention to be held in August as originally planned. 

The bill, authored by state Representative John Torbett, R-Gaston, insists convention events in Charlotte be held at full capacity. It would require attendees to complete daily health surveys and have their temperatures taken before entering event spaces. It would not, however, require face masks or enforce a 6-feet social distancing requirement. 

Citing public safety concerns, Cooper called the proposal “irresponsible” during a news conference on Monday. 

“What we need to do is continue our conversations with the RNC,” Cooper said. 

The bill is set to hit the floor of the North Carolina House of Representatives floor tomorrow, if passed by both the House and Senate, will land on Cooper’s desk. He is expected to veto it and Republicans don’t have enough votes to override the veto, making it a largely symbolic piece of legislation.

The governor’s social distancing guidelines sparked backlash from President Donald Trump, who said last week via Twitter that the GOP will be forced to look for another state to host the Republican National Convention. 

“Governor Cooper is still in Shelter-In-Place Mode, and not allowing us to occupy the arena as originally anticipated and promised,” Trump tweeted.  

Many states such as Georgia and Texas immediately jumped at the opportunity to host at least certain parts of the convention, but there are complications involved in a last-minute move for an event of this scale. 

The Republican National Committee says that while “official business” will still be held in the Queen City, Trump will hold his planned rally elsewhere. 

“We have a contract in place with the RNC to host the convention and the city attorney will be in contact with the attorneys for the RNC to understand their full intentions,” the city of Charlotte tweeted last week.  

In response to Trump’s criticism, Cooper said on Twitter that a top priority for the state is “protecting public health and safety during this pandemic.”

“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,” the governor tweeted.

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