CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - The Republican National Convention is now 100 days away. The major political convention normally brings thousands of people from around the world to one location. However, major events and gatherings across the country have been postponed and canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic. The 2020 Republican National Convention is scheduled to happen in Charlotte.
Ronna McDaniel, chairwoman of the Republican National Committee, spoke to WBTV in a Zoom interview Friday afternoon, addressing safety concerns about hosting a major convention during the pandemic.
“It’s hard to look in that crystal ball from three months from now at the very end in August and know where our country’s going to be,” said McDaniel. “So we’re hopeful that with the testing at the level it is now - 10 million tests already - more than any other country. We’ve seen just so many strides made in Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and flattening the curve, we’re hopeful that by August we’ll be in a much different place.”
McDaniel said that while they are still ‘full steam ahead’ in planning the convention, their priority is the health and safety of the convention-goers and the people of Charlotte.
“We brought in a medical expert that’s gonna help us make plans for, ‘What would social distancing look like? How we can do this safely? What are the things we think we would need?’ because I do think we would have to make adjustments on that front with this pandemic,” said the Republican National Committee chairperson.
In a recent interview with the Washington Examiner, President Donald Trump accused North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper of ‘playing politics’ with reopening the state. When asked if the convention could be moved to another state, McDaniel said it would ultimately be up to local officials to determine whether the convention had to be moved.
“If your governor and your mayor were to say, ‘we can’t have you and we’re shutting down our state’, then obviously we can’t have a convention,” said McDaniel.
In response to the president’s remarks, Sadie Weiner, communications director for Governor Cooper, issued the following statement:
As the Governor said, pandemics cannot be political. North Carolina is using the data and the science based on White House guidance to inform our three-phased approach to lifting restrictions. The health and safety of North Carolinians is the top priority as we battle COVID-19.
Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles said the safety of the city’s residents is her top concern too. However, she noted the city is under contract to host the convention and the contract cannot be broken.
“If any convention comes to town, the very first and foremost priority we will have is the health and well-being of our residents, and we’re going to follow the rules that make that possible and anyone coming into our city will follow those same rules,” said Lyles in a phone interview with WBTV Friday.
No major changes are slated for the convention, according to McDaniel. The Republican National Committee chair said there will be more discussions about the event at the end of June and beginning of July.
“I promise you we will make the appropriate adjustments to keep everyone safe and healthy, but right now it’s too early and we’re full steam ahead because having a full-scale convention is a lot more work than scaling it down,” said McDaniel.