Washington —  President Trump threatened Monday to relocate the Republican National Convention from North Carolina unless Democratic Governor Roy Cooper lifts restrictions imposed because of the coronavirus pandemic to allow “full attendance” at the event.

In a series of tweets, Mr. Trump said Cooper is “still in shutdown mood” and can’t guarantee that by the end of August, when the convention is set to take place, the thousands of Republicans set to attend the event in Charlotte will be able to.

“In other words, we would be spending millions of dollars building the arena to a very high standard without even knowing if the Democrat governor would allow the Republican Party to fully occupy the space,” Mr. Trump said, adding the Cooper must “immediately” address whether full occupancy will be allowed.

“If not, we will be reluctantly forced to find, with all of the jobs and economic development it brings, another Republican National Convention site,” he added. “This is not something I want to do.”

…full attendance in the Arena. In other words, we would be spending millions of dollars building the Arena to a very high standard without even knowing if the Democrat Governor would allow the Republican Party to fully occupy the space. Plans are being….

…to find, with all of the jobs and economic development it brings, another Republican National Convention site. This is not something I want to do. Thank you, and I LOVE the people of North Carolina!

Vice President Pence reinforced the president’s threat, telling “Fox and Friends” Monday morning that “having a sense now is absolutely essential because of the immense preparations that are involved.”

He added that “we look forward to working with Governor Cooper — getting a swift response and if needs be — if needs be — moving the national convention to a state that — that is farther along on reopening and can say with confidence that, that we can gather there.”

The Republican National Committee said this month it expects nearly 50,000 will descend on Charlotte for the convention, where Mr. Trump will be re-nominated as the GOP’s presidential nominee. But North Carolina is in the second phase of its reopening plan, under which mass gatherings of more than 10 people indoors and more than 25 people outdoors are prohibited. The state has had more than 23,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, including more than 3,200 in Mecklenburg County, where Charlotte is located.

The coronavirus crisis led Democrats to postpone its convention in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, from mid-July to August. The Democratic National Convention Committee said it is exploring options to alter the convention’s format, size and schedule. 

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