Bring us your #MAGA masses, yearning to pack an arena without wearing masks as the coronavirus pandemic rages.
The GOP governors of Georgia and Florida urged President Trump Tuesday to move the Republican National Convention to their states as Trump spars with North Carolina over social-distancing rules.
“Georgia would be honored to safely host the Republican National Convention. We hope you will consider the Peach State,” Kemp tweeted.
With world-class facilities, restaurants, hotels, and workforce, Georgia would be honored to safely host the Republican National Convention. We hope you will consider the Peach State, @realdonaldtrump!
— Governor Brian P. Kemp (@GovKemp) May 26, 2020
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said either party would be welcome to hold their convention in the Sunshine State.
“Florida would love to have the RNC. Heck ... it would be great to have the DNC,” DeSantis said.
Republican National chairwoman Ronna McDaniel claimed that governors of “a lot of" other unnamed states have expressed an interest in hosting the RNC in August.
“There’s a lot of states that are calling the president right now saying, hey, why don’t you bring that revenue to our state,” McDaniel said.
Vice President Mike Pence name-checked Texas along with Florida and Georgia as states that would be suitable for the GOP convention.
Trump denied as “fake news” reports that he is considering holding the RNC at his golf resort near Miami.
Partisan politics aside, most leaders would welcome a gathering of either party in normal times because the conventions are lucrative money-spinners for the tourism and hospitality industries.
But it could be a politically problematic decision in the year of coronavirus. Even staunch Republicans may not see the wisdom of bringing tens of thousands of conventioneers to their state with the risk of sparking a serious spike of death and illness.
Kemp is already getting some of the lowest poll ratings in the nation for his handling of the pandemic after he rushed to reopen the state in defiance of even Trump. DeSantis has mostly recovered from the bout of negative publicity he took for failing to shut down the state during Spring Break.
The GOP confab, which Republicans insist can take place in person, is scheduled for late August in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Trump threatened Monday to move the sprawling event because he says Gov. Roy Cooper (D-North Carolina) refuses to “guarantee full attendance."
Cooper says the GOP is welcome but it’s not known whether the pandemic will have eased enough to permit mass gatherings. About 50,000 people would have been expected for a normal national convention.
Cooper planned a Monday afternoon press conference to address the questions about the RNC.
Trump’s convention war of words highlights the sharp partisan and cultural divide over the pandemic response.
The president is pushing to return the country to some semblance of normalcy as quickly as possible even as cases and deaths continue to rise in many states. He refuses to wear a protective mask in public and his right-wing followers deride all social-distancing rules as a tyrannical liberal hoax.
Trump sees a packed convention with all the traditional bells and whistles as being a critical part of his reelection pitch that recovery is on the way.
Democrats, on the other hand, are urging that all leaders listen to public health officials who insist it is far too early to consider mass gatherings of thousands, especially close together in a packed indoor arena.
Organizers have already delayed the Democratic Convention from July to August and are openly planning for a virtual gathering, possibly with only a small in-person event in Milwaukee where the event is scheduled.
Latest coronavirus updates: Click here for our roundup of the most important developments from NYC and around the world.