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Reaction to Jacksonville being selected to host President Trump’s convention speech

FILE - In this July 21, 2016, file photo, confetti and balloons fall during celebrations after Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's acceptance speech on the final day of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. President Donald Trump demanded Monday, May 25, 2020, that North Carolina's Democratic governor sign off immediately on allowing the Republican National Convention to move forward in August with full attendance despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Trump's tweets Monday about the RNC, planned for Charlotte, come just two days after the North Carolina recorded its largest daily increase in positive cases yet. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)
FILE - In this July 21, 2016, file photo, confetti and balloons fall during celebrations after Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's acceptance speech on the final day of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. President Donald Trump demanded Monday, May 25, 2020, that North Carolina's Democratic governor sign off immediately on allowing the Republican National Convention to move forward in August with full attendance despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Trump's tweets Monday about the RNC, planned for Charlotte, come just two days after the North Carolina recorded its largest daily increase in positive cases yet. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File) (Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistribu)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Republican National Committee announced Thursday night that Jacksonville will host the celebration marking President Donald Trump’s acceptance of his party’s nomination for reelection.

Here is what political leaders are saying about the announcement:

Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry

“Today’s announcement is exciting news for the City of Jacksonville,” said Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry. “I enthusiastically welcome the opportunity to highlight everything our city has to offer, along with the tremendous economic impact. We look forward to hosting the 2020 Republican National Convention for all delegates and guests to enjoy."

Curry also said: “The herculean task of securing the 2020 Convention was led by two senior members of my administration, Jordan Elsbury and Brian Hughes. Together on my behalf, they worked with Visit Jacksonville’s Michael Corrigan to secure over 10,000 hotel rooms, coordinated with private entities and the City’s facility Manager, ASM Global, to secure host venues. All of these combined are anticipated to bring an economic impact of more than $100 million to our City. We will continue to collaborate with local, state, and federal law enforcement to insure we host a safe and secure event."

Jacksonville City Council President-Designate Tommy Hazouri

A Democrat and former mayor of Jacksonville, said Thursday he had mixed feelings about the possibility of Jacksonville landing the convention. “Our city is divided right now, but we’re trying to come together. No one invites guests to their home when the family isn’t unified.”

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis

“Florida is honored to host this special event where we will celebrate the re-nomination of President Donald J. Trump,” said Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. “Jacksonville is a great city that will showcase Florida’s energy, facilities, entrepreneurship and commitment to bring together the delegates of the Republican Party at a historic time in our nation’s history.”

Florida Democratic Party Chair Terrie Rizzo

“First, let me be clear that I sincerely hope that the Republican Party is successful in keeping everyone safe at their events. However, I am deeply concerned that the impetus for moving their highest profile event to Florida was because Donald Trump wanted to give a speech to a crowd of people not social distancing -- and, given his previous public events, likely not wearing masks. Those are safety protocols set forth by his own administration’s public health experts to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“Donald Trump abandoned North Carolina because he wants it to look like the threat of the coronavirus is over when he gives his big televised speech. Unfortunately, optics are not a public health strategy, nor are they a good re-election strategy. No speech this president makes can successfully gloss over his failed coronavirus response to Americans who have watched this president dither for months as more than 44 million have filed for unemployment benefits and 113,000 have lost their lives. Trump is coming to Florida to throw himself a big party -- but it’s looking more and more like a goodbye party to his chance at a second term in the White House.”

U.S. Sen. Rick Scot

State Senator Audrey Gibson of District 6

Democratic state Sen. Audrey Gibson told NBC News, “The unfortunate circumstance is that we have the most divisive president ever. And the idea of the disruption that would be created in Jacksonville is something we can live without.”

Republican Party of Duval County Chairman Dean Black

“The Republican Party of Duval County is ecstatic for the entire City of Jacksonville as we play host to the 2020 Republican National Convention. This August, Duval County will welcome thousands of patriots and will take part in an incredible tradition within our Nation’s political process. When we started the #RNCtoJAX campaign some weeks ago, we were confident that our City would be the very best place to hold the Convention - and we are pleased that President Trump concurs! This achievement simply would not be possible without the fine work of our Governor, Mayor, Sheriff, and their teams in coordinating the details and planning. Over the next few months, we look forward to the spotlight being on Jacksonville and our city shining brighter than ever.

“We will be holding a press conference at our victory headquarters (3520 St. Johns Bluff Rd) at 10 a.m. on June 12th.”

Republican Party of Florida Chairman Joe Gruters

“The Republican Party of Florida is delighted that Jacksonville will host the Republican National Convention. The energy and excitement is already building in the Sunshine State for the opportunity to celebrate President Donald J. Trump delivering his acceptance speech.

“The convention will bring visitors and attendees from all across the country to Jacksonville, a beautiful Florida city on the Atlantic Ocean offering hotel space, top-notch convention facilities, beautiful weather, beaches and a lot of Republicans — just an overall outstanding venue. There is no better place to host the Republican National Convention than in the nation’s largest swing state that is also home to President Trump and to the country’s best Governor, Ron DeSantis.

“We thank Governor DeSantis and Lt. Governor Jeanette Nuñez for all their hard work over the last few months in navigating through the COVID-19 outbreak and safely leading the state back to work — which set the stage so perfectly for this opportunity. We also applaud Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry, former Chairman of the Republican Party of Florida, for stepping in quickly and effectively to offer conventioneers the best that Jacksonville has to offer.

“We are particularly grateful to Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel for her leadership and tireless efforts under such difficult circumstances and compressed timeline and we would also like to thank the RNC’s Executive Committee for bringing the 2020 Republican National Convention to Jacksonville. We are thrilled Florida was selected and we will not let them down.

“Florida is committed to holding a safe, secure and successful event and we look forward to delivering the 29 electoral votes that the President needs to win the election.”

Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis

“Before this pandemic, Florida was welcoming 900 people a day to our state. While they were coming to Florida because of our beaches, our communities, and our low taxes they were also escaping states that were indifferent to business and opportunity. With the Republican National Convention now headed to Jacksonville, the state of North Carolina is going through the same emotions that the democratic leaders of New York and New Jersey have experienced over the past few years – the feeling of losing their businesses, their capital investments, and their people to the state of Florida. Governor DeSantis and Jacksonville’s Mayor Lenny Curry deserve a huge round of applause for this major accomplishment. With President Trump now a Florida resident, this was an easy decision. As Florida continues to recover from the COVID-19 shutdowns, the economic opportunities that will arise from the convention coming to Florida will help in getting our state’s revenues back.”


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