WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump will accept the Republican presidential nomination outside North Carolina, the party said on Wednesday, following the Democratic governor’s decision not to lift social-distancing restrictions for the planned Aug. 24-27 convention.
On Tuesday, Governor Roy Cooper rejected Republican demands to guarantee that attendance at the convention in Charlotte would not be restricted by social-distancing measures aimed at preventing the spread of the coronavirus.
In response, Trump said on Twitter that the party would relocate the event.
The Republican National Committee said in a statement that “the celebration of the president’s acceptance of the Republican nomination will be held in another city” because of Cooper’s decision. Trump is seeking a second term in the Nov. 3 election.
Should the governor later change the restrictions to allow more people to gather, “we still hope to conduct the official business of the convention in Charlotte,” the statement said.
Republican officials were considering whether to have Trump formally accept the nomination and deliver his acceptance speech in Jacksonville, Florida; Orlando, Florida; Nashville, Tennessee; New Orleans, Dallas or Phoenix, one official said.
“We are working to schedule visits to these cities by Republican National Committee officials in the coming days,” the official said.
Earlier, the official said the states being considered were Florida, Georgia, Tennessee or Arizona.
North Carolina previously lifted some restrictions applied to stop the spread of the coronavirus, but remains in Phase 2 of a reopening plan, which limits indoor gatherings to no more than 10 people.
Cooper, referring to the Republicans, said on Twitter on Tuesday night: “It’s unfortunate they never agreed to scale down and make changes to keep people safe.”
Democrats have delayed their convention in Milwaukee, which was set for Aug. 17 to 20, and left the door open to a revised format. Former Vice President Joe Biden is the party’s presumptive presidential nominee.
(Reporting by Jason Lange, Steve Holland and Simon Lewis; Editing by Chris Reese and Peter Cooney)