JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – There could be some major changes to the Republican National Convention, and the Associated Press reports it’s President Donald Trump’s call on what the event will look like.
According to the AP, there are key decisions about the event, like where or if the president will appear, that need to be made soon to allow enough time for the build-out of the space.
News4Jax asked Duval County GOP Chairman Dean Black about this, and he said Jacksonville will do whatever it has to do to make the convention work.
When asked about the build-out of the space, Dean said that’s a question for the host committee. News4Jax reached out to the host committee but had not heard back as of early Sunday evening.
The AP reports the president has expressed reservations about having an outdoor venue, and GOP officials insist they have the financial resources to hold the convention.
News4Jax asked Black about funds and whether other spaces in the city have been considered.
“Fundraising is ongoing, and I expect we will be successful in our fundraising efforts,” Black said. “A number of things will be looked at in due course because, frankly, those decisions have to be made a little closer to that time. It’s just a little too far out right now to make final decisions.”
News4Jax Political analyst Rick Mullaney said the RNC, just a month and a half away, is not going to be what the President hopes for.
“President Trump, of course, he loves a big crowd, he loves the rally, and he was hoping this would be four days of a big commercial for him. But this year, 2020, is unlike any year in our history. From impeachment, to the pandemic, to race relations, to the conventions -- it’s all different,” said Mullaney.
Sunday, Florida reported the largest single-day increase in new COVID-19 cases in any one state since the start of the pandemic.
Duval has 577 more cases, bringing the total to 12,864.
There are 43 days until the RNC and 100 or so days until the election.
“We’re saying that we have to wait until we get closer, but how much closer do you want to get? It’s not that far off, but remember, to when we were awarded this convention back in the middle of June, I don’t think anybody quite foresaw that the surge would be this significant and that the playing field would change this dramatically,” said Mullaney.
Mullaney said campaigning will look different, and while it’s all about November, he said they’ll have to make some decisions for the RNC soon.
Because the fall, remember, could be even worse. And you don’t want the imagery of Jacksonville that appearance of no social distancing and no masks in the face of what we’re confronting as a country,” said Mullaney.
Mullaney said they can choose from a variety of things, like having it outdoors or virtually.
The AP is reporting that the president has already expressed reservations about an outdoor venue, saying it would lack the same atmosphere as an arena.