GOP Votes for Scaled-Back Convention in Charlotte, Without Trump Acceptance Speech

June 11, 2020 Updated: June 11, 2020

The Republican National Committee (RNC) voted to keep official convention business in Charlotte, North Carolina, but move President Donald Trump’s speech to accept the GOP nomination elsewhere.

GOP officials, frustrated by Gov. Roy Cooper’s refusal to say the Republican National Convention venue could be filled to capacity because of CCP virus-related restrictions, began last month looking at alternative sites. But city attorneys and members of the Charlotte Host Committee have said moving the entire convention would violate contractual agreements.

The vote means a pared-down group will travel to Charlotte, but another gathering, featuring Trump’s address, will take place elsewhere.

“The RNC’s Executive Committee has unanimously approved procedures that allow for official convention business to continue in Charlotte. Many cities are eager to host the president’s acceptance of the nomination, and talks are continuing with several of them to host that celebration. A final decision will be made soon,” a spokesperson for the committee said in a statement to The Epoch Times.

The executive committee approved the attendance of six delegates from each state and territory, for a total of 336, at Spectrum Arena in downtown Charlotte.

Epoch Times Photo
The Spectrum Center in Charlotte, N.C., on Nov. 13, 2019. (Daniel Slim/AFP/Getty Images)

The group from each state or territory usually includes the state party chair, the national committeeman and committeewoman, two credentialed committee members, and the state delegation chairman.

While only the delegates present at the arena can participate in official committee business, all delegates, even those offsite, can vote for the president and vice president nominees.

The portion featuring Trump’s speech will happen in a separate location, according to information obtained by The Epoch Times. All delegates and alternates can attend, and each may bring a guest if permitted by law.

There are 5,000 delegates and alternates.

Charlotte City Attorney Patrick Baker said in a statement to news outlets that he was aware of media reports about the RNC’s decision “to relocate a substantial portion of the convention” to Jacksonville, Florida.

“An immediate discussion with the RNC and our partners regarding contractual obligations and remedies resulting from this apparent decision is required,” he said.

roy cooper
North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper speaks during a briefing at the Emergency Operations Center in Raleigh, N.C., on June 2, 2020. (Ethan Hyman/The News & Observer via AP)

The Charlotte Host Committee said it appeared the committee moved the convention to Florida, which would violate contractual agreements.

RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said in an interview with radio host Hugh Hewitt on June 10: “There’s a couple more things we need to do before we can announce that, but Jacksonville is absolutely in the front-running position. … Jacksonville has a lot of the things that we like and in a very good position.”

The portion of the convention staying in Charlotte will be “smaller and scaled-down,” while a different city would be chosen “for a celebration,” she said.

Trump has a lot of input into the process, according to McDaniel.

Top Republican officials, including a number of governors, reached out to the GOP after party officials said they wanted to move the convention. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis was one of them.

Phoenix, Nashville, Tennessee, Savannah, Georgia, and some other cities are also still in the running.

Epoch Times Photo
Ronna McDaniel, chair of the Republican National Committee, at President Donald Trump’s MAGA rally in Grand Rapids, Mich., on March 28, 2019. (Charlotte Cuthbertson/The Epoch Times)

North Carolina is still in phase two of its reopening, which includes a limit of 10 people when gathering indoors. Cooper, a Democrat who is up for reelection in November, hasn’t set a date for when phase three will start.

A Cooper spokeswoman told The Epoch Times last month that health officials were working with the RNC and would review plans for how to hold the convention.

“North Carolina is relying on data and science to protect our state’s public health and safety,” she said.

The spokeswoman said in a statement to news outlets that officials have been working with GOP officials on a scaled-down event.

“But it wouldn’t be responsible to guarantee a full arena as the RNC has demanded. State officials will continue to support health and safety aspects of any activities that do remain in North Carolina,” she said.

A decision on where Trump’s speech will take place will likely happen within the next week, McDaniel said during an appearance on Fox News.

“We have all types of states—Oklahoma, Georgia, Florida, Texas, Tennessee—that have come and said we want to host your convention,” she said.

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