Donald Trump’s renomination as the Republican Party’s candidate will take place in private after a spokesperson for the Republican National Convention said that reporters would not be allowed in due to health concerns.
Trump is set to become the party’s nominee for the November presidential election at the convention, which is being held in Charlotte, North Carolina, later this month. Delegates are scheduled to gather and formally vote to make Trump the nominee. As the Associated Press reported, the ceremony will be held behind closed doors due to fears of the spread of the coronavirus.
“Given the health restrictions and limitations in place within the state of North Carolina, we are planning for the Charlotte activities to be closed press Friday, August 21 – Monday, August 24,” a RNC spokeswoman said. “We are happy to let you know if this changes, but we are working within the parameters set before us by state and local guidelines regarding the number of people who can attend events.”
The multi-day event had been the subject of controversy after Trump initially said he wanted it to take place with attendees and no social distancing. He had originally announced that it would be moved from North Carolina to Florida in order to get around the state’s restrictions on large gatherings, but this was called off as well. The Associated Press noted that some delegates had expressed worry about having to travel to Charlotte for the formal vote, noting that it would force many of them to undergo mandatory quarantine upon returning to their home states.
The Democratic Party has already announced that the DNC will occur virtually.
Trump’s insistence on holding campaign rallies has led to criticism, especially around the controversial rally held in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in June after nearly three months without any public rallies due to concerns about the spread of the coronavirus. Local health officials warned that a large gathering could be dangerous, and it came at a time when cases were sharply rising in Oklahoma.
Following the event, former Republican presidential nominee Herman Cain — who attended the rally and did not wear a mask — tested positive for COVID-19. He died this month. It was not clear if he contracted the virus at the Tulsa campaign rally, but his passing led to renewed criticism toward the campaign for going ahead with the event despite warnings about the risks of allowing a large crowd without social distancing requirements and no mandate that attendees wear masks.