Three U.S. states offer to host Republican convention if Trump pulls it from North Carolina


(Reuters) – Republicans in Georgia, Texas and Florida are offering to host the party’s national convention if President Donald Trump makes good on his threat to move the event from North Carolina over social distancing restrictions due to the coronavirus.

Trump tweeted on Monday that the party would find another site for the Republican National Convention if North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper, a Democrat, did not immediately say whether the convention space can be “fully occupied.”

Cooper’s office has said state health officials are working with the RNC to review plans, and that they would rely on data and science to protect public health amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The convention is set to start on Aug. 24 in Charlotte.

Republican National Committee chairwoman Ronna McDaniel told a FOX News show on Tuesday that “a lot of states” have stepped forward as alternatives to North Carolina.

Those states include Georgia, Texas and Florida, all led by Republican governors who moved to loosen stay-at-home orders earlier than North Carolina.

“With world-class facilities, restaurants, hotels, and workforce, Georgia would be honored to safely host the Republican National Convention,” Georgia’s Governor Brian Kemp said on Twitter on Tuesday.

Republican party leaders in Florida and Texas made similar pitches on Monday.

Trump has been critical of Democratic governors over the pace of their economic re-opening following nationwide lockdowns to curb the spread of the coronavirus. Like Trump, Cooper is up for re-election on Nov. 3.

The pandemic has forced Trump and presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden to halt campaign rallies. Some people have raised concerns that the large formal nominating conventions typically packed with delegates could create health risks.

Democrats postponed their national convention from July to August and have left the door open for alternatives to the in-person event planned in Milwaukee.

Reporting by Michael Martina; Editing by Colleen Jenkins and Howard Goller