President Donald Trump will accept his party’s nomination in Jacksonville, Florida, not Charlotte, North Carolina, as originally planned, CNN reported. Ronna McDaniel, the Republican National Committee Chairwoman, made the announcement in a statement released on Thursday.
“We are thrilled to celebrate this momentous occasion in the great city of Jacksonville. Not only does Florida hold a special place in President Trump’s heart as his home state, but it is crucial in the path to victory in 2020. We look forward to bringing this great celebration and economic boon to the Sunshine State in just a few short months.”
The announcement came after weeks of debate over whether or not the Republican National Convention would be held in Charlotte, North Carolina as planned. According to CNN, Trump has insisted upon holding a fully attended convention. That did not sit well with North Carolina’s governor Roy Cooper, who feared that a massive event like the convention was dangerous in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.
Late in May, the president threatened to move the convention out of North Carolina if Gov. Cooper didn’t ensure that the convention could be fully attended. He criticized Cooper for remaining in “shutdown mode,” as the rest of the country prepared to open. At the time, Cooper’s office said that his administration would continue to work with the Republican National Committee (RNC) to determine how the convention could be held in Charlotte.
Thursday’s announcement made it clear that the RNC and the president did not reach a satisfactory deal with Gov. Cooper’s administration, CNN reported. However, because the RNC signed a contract to hold the convention in Charlotte, they’re required to host part of the event in Charlotte. The statement released by the RNC indicated that delegates will still meet in Charlotte to conduct party business while Trump accepts the nomination and holds related events in Jacksonville.
In a meeting on Wednesday, the RNC voted on several measures that will change how the convention is conducted this year, per CNN. They cut down the number of delegates attending the convention from 2,500 to 366, with each state and territory only sending six delegates to the actual convention. However, all of the delegates who would have been at the convention will still be invited to Trump’s acceptance speech in Jacksonville.
Delegates that are not actually attending the convention will be able to vote by proxy for their nominee, according to CNN. Only the six delegates physically present will be able to vote on other party business addressed at the convention.
According to CNN, the decision to move the convention to Jacksonville is likely a strategic move by the Trump campaign, an attempt to swing the state in favor of the president for the 2020 presidential election.