By Dan McCaleb
(The Center Square) – President Donald Trump said Thursday, July 23, that the GOP convention scheduled for Jacksonville, Florida, next month will not occur because of a spike in COVID-19 cases in the state.
“I talked to my team and I said, ‘the timing for this event is not right, it’s just not right,’” Trump said at a White House media briefing. … “I said there’s nothing more important in our country than keeping our people safe.”
The convention was scheduled for Aug. 24 to 27, but Florida is among states that recently have seen significant spikes in coronavirus cases and deaths.
The Republican National Committee moved the convention’s “performative aspects” from Charlotte to Jacksonville in June after Trump said Gov. Roy Cooper forced him to cancel in Charlotte by requesting a scaled-down convention because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I told my team it’s time to cancel the Jacksonville portion of the GOP convention,” Trump said, adding that delegates will vote on the party’s nominee in North Carolina. Trump will be the party’s nominee.
The president said he spoke to Florida Gov. Ron Desantis about the decision, adding the state will “be doing very well very shortly.”
Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry and Duval County Sheriff Mike Williams issued a joint statement thanking Trump for the decision.
“We appreciate President Donald Trump considering our public health and safety concerns in making this incredibly difficult decision,” they said in a statement posted on the city of Jacksonville’s Twitter feed. “As always, in Jacksonville public safety is our number one priority. President Trump has once again reaffirmed his commitment to the safety of Jacksonville Florida and the people of the United States of America.”