House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday slammed President Donald Trump's insistence that the Republican National Convention occur as planned despite the pandemic, and suggested neither party had any business holding its massive quadrennial gathering given the risks to public health.
"I don't think there's anyone who would say at this point that tens of thousands of people should come together for a political convention, no matter how great an ego trip it is for somebody,” Pelosi, D-Calif., said during a press conference with other Democratic House leaders in response to a question about whether the two major political conventions should be held this summer.
Her comments came just days after Trump threatened to move the Republican convention from Charlotte, North Carolina, if there is a chance the venue might not be filled there later this summer due to coronavirus-related restrictions.
The GOP convention is currently scheduled for Aug. 24-27 in a state which recently reported its highest number of new cases in a single day. North Carolina entered the second phase of its reopening last week, but gatherings of groups over 10 people indoors, and 25 people outdoors, are still prohibited.
As recently as last week, the Republican National Committee said it was planning for an event that would gather 50,000 people, despite warnings from health officials about the risks of mass gatherings. While that is their public posture, NBC News last month was the first to report details on what Republican officials and those close to the president have been saying privately: that alterations were possible, and a backup plan and contingencies would be needed to host a massive gathering amid the coronavirus crisis.
Meanwhile, the Democratic National Committee already pushed back its Milwaukee, Wisconsin, convention from mid-July to mid-August due to coronavirus concerns. The committee has left open the possibility that parts of the event will be held virtually, although officials say they expect a portion of the event to be held in-person.