Trump ‘would like’ RNC to stay in Charlotte despite threatening to pull if space can’t be ‘fully occupied’

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) -President Donald Trump says he would like to keep the Republican National Convention in Charlotte.

This is following a series of tweets Monday morning where Trump threatened to pull the RNC out of Charlotte if North Carolina can’t commit to full attendance at the convention.

The Republican National Convention is set for August 24 through August 27.

Trump responded to reports by the New York Times that the president has expressed interest in moving the convention to Miami.

The president has denied that claim.

North Carolina is currently under a Phase 2 of reopening amid the coronavirus pandemic, which limits indoor gatherings to 10 people. Phase 2 is expected to be in effect until June 26, but it’s unclear what restrictions will be place beyond that.

The convention was expected to bring nearly 50,000 people to the city.

“I love the Great State of North Carolina, so much so that I insisted on having the Republican National Convention in Charlotte at the end of August. Unfortunately, Democrat Governor, @RoyCooperNC is still in Shutdown mood & unable to guarantee that by August we will be allowed...” Trump tweeted.

"...full attendance in the Arena. In other words, we would be spending millions of dollars building the Arena to a very high standard without even knowing if the Democrat Governor would allow the Republican Party to fully occupy the space. Plans are being....

...made by many thousands of enthusiastic Republicans, and others, to head to beautiful North Carolina in August. They must be immediately given an answer by the Governor as to whether or not the space will be allowed to be fully occupied. If not, we will be reluctantly forced... find, with all of the jobs and economic development it brings, another Republican National Convention site. This is not something I want to do. Thank you, and I LOVE the people of North Carolina!" Trump tweeted.

A spokesperson for Gov. Roy Cooper responded in a statement, saying that state health officials are working with the RNC on plans for the convention.

“State health officials are working with the RNC and will review its plans as they make decisions about how to hold the convention in Charlotte. North Carolina is relying on data and science to protect our state’s public health and safety"
- Dory MacMillan, Spokesperson for Governor Roy Cooper

Mecklenburg County says leaders are in constant communication with local and federal counterparts to plan and prepare for a safe RNC.

The City of Charlotte, Mecklenburg County and other local stakeholders will continue to plan for the RNC while respecting national and state guidance regarding the pandemic. We are working with stakeholders to develop guidelines for several large events planned for Charlotte in the coming months including the RNC and anticipate providing that guidance in June,” county leaders said.

Mecklenburg County Republican Party Vice Chairman Sarah Reidy-Jones esponded to President Trump’s Tweet about the possibility of relocating the 2020 Republican National Convention from Charlotte if Governor Cooper does not lift social distancing guidelines.

“The Mecklenburg County Republican Party has been looking forward to serving as the host county for the 2020 Republican National Convention for over two years.

“We understood the economic boost to our local economy for the 2012 DNC and had looked forward to hosting the RNC in just 90 days. Now more than ever, we need the economic boost that this convention brings, especially to a hospitality industry that has been especially hard hit.

"Governor Cooper’s policies have been drastically devastating for North Carolinians, especially the 1 in 7 Charlotte residents that comprise of its hospitality sector. We strongly encourage Governor Cooper to put the good of the state’s economic recovery above any political posturing or personal feelings.

"We will pressure our local elected officials that do so much to try to harm our economic freedoms that originally made Charlotte and the metro region flourish and to those trying to use COVID-19 as an opportunity to interject dangerous policies that compromise our elections, our children’s educations and our livelihoods in the form of social experimenting.”

Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles responded by saying that health and safety of residents and visitors remain the priority.

She said on Twitter that “the science and data will ultimately determine what we will collectively do for our city.”

Other city officials cast doubt on whether the RNC would be able to find a new host city only three months away from the convention.

“I think it would be quite a tall task,” Charlotte City Councilman Larken Egleston said.

“Years of planning go into each of one of these conventions and to ask a new host city to pull it together in three months would be difficult.”

“I think it would be extremely difficult to relocate the convention for security reasons," Councilman Ed Driggs said.

"I’m very hopeful an accommodation be reached that would allow it to take place within the scope of our health directives.”