Trump contended that Democratic North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper is “unable to guarantee” that the Charlotte arena can be filled to capacity for the convention scheduled for August 24 to 27. Cooper has said that data and science will guide his decisions on whether the state can hold large gatherings like the convention amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The friction prompted Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, a Republican, to tweet Tuesday, “We hope you will consider the Peach State, @realdonaldtrump!”
“With world-class facilities, restaurants, hotels, and workforce, Georgia would be honored to safely host the Republican National Convention,” Kemp said.
His offer was echoed by Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, who said during a news conference Tuesday that his state would “love to have the RNC” and would be open to hosting the Democratic convention as well.
“The door is open. We want to have the conversation whether it’s RNC or DNC because I think it would be good for the people of Florida,” the Republican said. “Florida wants to work with you if you’re a business, if you’re a sports team, if you want to have some of these events, we want to work with you to get to yes.”
Cooper, for his part, would not say Tuesday whether he is worried about the convention leaving Charlotte.
“I supported having the convention in North Carolina, but we have to put the health and safety of North Carolinians as the guiding star in this process,” he said. “We hope to continue the discussions” with the RNC.
CNN previously reported that top Republicans had been working closely with Cooper and other Democratic state officials as recently as Friday to plan the convention before Trump threatened to pull the event from the state.
Trump’s tweet not only came as a surprise to Republican officials on Monday, but it also was completely at odds with the position that top convention officials had expressed during the Friday meeting, CNN has learned.
Marcia Kelly, the president and CEO of the convention, spoke with Cooper and the state’s secretary of health and human services, Dr. Mandy Cohen, in the telephone meeting. A person familiar with the call said Kelly had outlined a range of options for the Republican convention in August, “from a full in-person convention to a virtual or online convention.”