President Donald Trump threatened Monday to pull the Republican National Convention out of North Carolina if the state's Democratic governor doesn't immediately sign off on allowing a full-capacity gathering in August despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Trump's tweets about the upcoming RNC in Charlotte come two days after North Carolina's largest daily increase in virus cases yet.
On Friday, Gov. Roy Cooper moved the state into a second reopening phase by loosening restrictions on hair salons, barbers and restaurants. But he said the state must move cautiously, and he kept indoor entertainment venues, gyms and bars closed.
“Unfortunately, Democrat Governor, @RoyCooperNC is still in Shutdown mood & unable to guarantee that by August we will be allowed... full attendance in the Arena,” Trump tweeted Monday.
He added that Republicans “must be immediately given an answer by the Governor as to whether or not the space will be allowed to be fully occupied. If not, we will be reluctantly forced...to find, with all of the jobs and economic development it brings, another Republican National Convention site.”
Pre-pandemic, the GOP had estimated 50,000 would come to Charlotte for the convention centered around its NBA arena.
Cooper's office responded that state officials are working with the GOP on convention decisions.
“State health officials are working with the RNC and will review its plans as they make decisions about how to hold the convention in Charlotte,” Cooper spokeswoman Dory MacMillan said in an email. “North Carolina is relying on data and science to protect our state’s public health and safety.”