President Donald Trump said Monday that he is prepared to yank the Republican National Convention out of North Carolina if the state’s Democratic governor can’t ease shutdown restrictions and guarantee the GOP that everyone will be able to attend the event.
“I love the Great State of North Carolina, so much so that I insisted on having the Republican National Convention in Charlotte at the end of August,” Trump tweeted. “Unfortunately, Democrat Governor, @RoyCooperNC is still in Shutdown mood & unable to guarantee that by August we will be allowed full attendance in the Arena.
“In other words,” he continued, “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.”
Trump said the situation is untenable and will eventually push the Republican Party to make some tough decisions about where to hold the convention.
“Plans are being made by many thousands of enthusiastic Republicans, and others, to head to beautiful North Carolina in August.,” he wrote. “They must be immediately given an answer by the Governor as to whether or not the space will be allowed to be fully occupied. If not, we will be reluctantly forced 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!”
Because Trump cannot say or do anything without his critics coming up with the most fatalistic interpretations, it wasn’t long before the Trump haters in the media were accusing him of trying to move the convention to one of his properties – a notion he quickly dispelled.
“I have zero interest in moving the Republican National Convention to Doral in Miami, as falsely reported by the Fake News @nytimes in order to stir up trouble,” he wrote. “Ballroom is not nearly big enough & would like to stay in N.C., whose gov. doesn’t even know if he can let people in?”
This gambit, of course, has nothing to do with Trump trying to enrich himself off the convention and everything to do with putting pressure on Gov. Roy Cooper. The president has been adamant that blue state Democrats need to get the lead out when it comes to opening up their economies, and this is another way to spotlight how most of them are doing the exact opposite.
In remarks to Fox News, Vice President Mike Pence said that Trump isn’t asking too much.
“What you’re hearing the president say today is just a very reasonable request of the governor of North Carolina,” Pence said. “We all want to be in Charlotte, we love North Carolina, but having a sense now is absolutely essential because of the immense preparations that are involved and we look forward to working with Gov. Cooper, getting a swift response, and if need be moving the national convention to a state that is farther along on reopening and can say with confidence that we can gather there.”
We’ll see if Cooper can make it happen…or if he’s willing to let tens of millions of dollars slip through his state’s economic fingers.