Due to contractual agreements, the Republican National Committee will still be required to hold an official part of the agreement in Charlotte. But the aspects leading up to the agreement, including the president’s speech, will happen in another city.
“The night the president accepts the nomination, he will not happen in Charlotte,” an RNC official told CNN.
Two sources warned, knowing that the decision appears not to be final. But the sources say that there have been tense talks in the past 48 hours between the RNC and the governor’s office before Trump’s self-set deadline, which is on Wednesday.
The apparent move comes after tense negotiations between Republican officials and officials from North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper’s office. Over the past two weeks, Trump began targeting Cooper during the conference drama, a strategy that Republicans said was looking to turn the Democratic ruler into a scapegoat if the conference could not go as planned due to the Corona virus.
President Cooper tweeted, “He is still putting shelter in place, and not allowing us to occupy the square as originally expected and promised. He could have offered beautiful North Carolina to the world, bringing in hundreds of millions of dollars and jobs for the state.”
“Because of the NC_Governor, we are now forced to search for another country to host the Republican National Convention 2020,” he said.
The plan now is to have Trump’s speech and some other events in another city.
Another Republican official said, “Because of the governor’s directives that our conference cannot continue as planned under our rules, the president’s acceptance of the Republican nomination will be celebrated in another city.” “If the Governor permits more than 10 people in a room, we still hope to conduct the official business of the conference in Charlotte.”
“We are obligated under the contract to go to Charlotte,” said one of the officials, noting that “conference work” should take place in that city. But since this has not been formally established, RNC officials are working to determine which part of the agreement should happen in Charlotte.
This official notes that this is happening as a direct result of Cooper’s last message, in which he says that the RNC should plan a “mini agreement with fewer people.”
“We are reducing its size because it requires us to do so,” the official said.
Cooper wrote in a letter to President of the Republican National Committee Rona McDaniel and CEO of the convention Marcia Lee Kelly that he wanted to continue the conversation with the organizers, but unless they presented a much different plan, Charlotte’s chances to host the August event are “extremely unlikely”.
“North Carolina residents don’t know what the COVID-19 case will be in August, so planning for a shrinkage agreement with fewer people, social exclusion and face coverage is essential,” Cooper wrote. “We are happy to continue to speak with you about the shape of the mini agreement and we are still waiting for your proposed plan for that.”
After Trump’s tweet, Cooper said it was “unfortunate” that no agreement had been reached.
The sources said that contingency planning is the point where party officials plan to travel to Nashville later this week to explore potential places, and possibly travel to other locations in the near future. Nashville and Las Vegas were both potential host cities before Republicans formally chose Charlotte.
President McDaniel admitted in a statement after Cooper’s message that Republicans were searching for alternative sites.
“We hope to continue running the business of our conference in Charlotte, but we have an obligation for our delegates and candidates to start visiting the cities and multiple countries that we communicated with in recent days about hosting a historic event to show that America is and says in the statement:” Business is open. “
He also accused McDaniel Cooper of “dragging his feet” to provide planners with direction.
Before Cooper’s response, Michael Ahrenz, a spokesman for the Republican National Committee, said, “As we have said the whole time, we are committed to holding our conference in Charlotte, but we are still waiting for Governor Cooper to confirm that the contracting agreement is already being held there.”
The planned flights, which were first reported by Politico, are a clear attempt by Republicans to show they are serious about withdrawing from the Charlotte Agreement.
Despite the pressure, Cooper, who will be re-elected in November, did not move from his position that the state of the epidemic would dictate whether Republicans were able to fully assemble in Charlotte.
Cooper said last week: “We are talking about something that will happen three months from now, and we don’t know what our situation is with regard to Coved 19 in North Carolina.” “We’d like to come up with a decision that anyone can make sense about that places public health, safety, science and facts as the most important thing we’re trying to do here.”
Cooper’s office did not immediately respond to CNN’s questions about the planned scouting trips.
As Republicans were set to hold a personal conference largely unchanged, Democrats were open about whether to change the event largely or entirely hypothetically. Their Milwaukee agreement was moved from mid-July to mid-August due to concerns over the coronavirus in April.
This story and its title were updated on Tuesday night.
Caitlan Collins of CNN and Paul Lieblanc contributed to this report.