President Trump on Thursday announced the Republican National Convention in Jacksonville, Florida has been cancelled as cases continue to spike in the state. During a briefing at the White House, Trump said presidential nominating delegates would still meet in Charlotte, North Carolina, which was the original planned location, but that there would be no large events, as he had hoped. “I looked at my team and I said, ‘The timing for this event is not right. It’s just not right with what’s happened,'” he said. “To have a big convention, it’s not the right time. It’s really something that, for me, I have to protect the American people. That’s what I’ve always done,” he continued. “We won’t do a big, crowded convention, per se. It’s just not the right time for that,” he said.
The president denied he had been asked by Florida officials to cancel the convention, saying he made the decision for “safety” reasons. The Trump campaign and Republican National Committee had been pushing ahead with a large, in-person convention even as cases in the Sunshine State continued to reach record highs. Florida is experiencing disturbing new infection rates along with the rest of the Sun Belt, peaking at 15,300 on July 12 and forcing local officials to shutter businesses and beaches.
Trump was to be originally crowned the nominee in Charlotte but Republican officials last month officially moved the event to Florida after North Carolina’s Democratic governor refused to host a large-scale event in the middle of the pandemic. But just five weeks later, the Jacksonville event was scrapped and Trump lamented that there would be no raucous event. “The drawings looked absolutely beautiful,” he said. “There was a tremendous list of speakers; thousands of people wanted to be there. Some people desperately wanted to be there,” he said. Trump said he still plans to make a speech in person in Charlotte but that most other events would be moved online. Finalized plans would be announced in coming weeks, he said. “There could be nothing like our last convention, unfortunately,” Trump said.
Good for Biden, bad for Trump, sad.