President Donald Trump has cancelled the pre-election Republican party convention in Jacksonville, as coronavirus continued to rage in Florida. The convention had been scheduled for August. The party will hold a set of scaled-back events in North Carolina instead, where the formal nomination of the Republican presidential candidate will take place. The half-day event will be held on 24 August in the city of Charlotte.
“It’s not the right time for that,” the US president said of the Jacksonville cancellation, saying safety was the main concern, adding that he would still give a convention speech in a different form. The president, speaking at a White House press conference, added he felt “it was wrong” to put potentially tens of thousands of attendees at risk.
“We didn’t want to take any chances,” he told reporters. “We have to be vigilant. we have to be careful and we have to set an example.”
The decision was made, 23 July, as Covid-19 cases in the US hit the four million mark.
The national nominating conventions of both the Republican and Democrat political parties in the US are traditionally the key events in the run up to the November poll. They traditionally attract tens of thousands of delegates over four days.
The Democrats are holding an almost entirely virtual convention in August in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where Joe Biden, will formally accept the party nomination.
The convention organisers have clearly had a chaotic time, with the Jacksonville convention host committee reported to have spent some of the $6m donated, with donors uncertain whether they will be refunded.