Republicans watch multi-city convention for Trump’s re-appointment
WASHINGTON – As Republicans scramble to restart the GOP convention, one option that is gaining traction is a multi-state affair with major speeches and rallies in a variety of cities, according to three people familiar with the discussions.
Part of the appeal of the roadshow approach is that it could allow President Donald Trump to claim to have commanded the busiest convention audience in history, they said, and accept his renomination with all. the brass band he considered.
“I think it will be a glorified rally,” said a person familiar with conversations about the president’s keynote address.
After cancellation of plans this week to host the GOP convention in Charlotte, NC – years in the making – Trump and the Republican National Committee are looking at at least seven states and nine cities as possible alternatives.
GOP officials are already on the ground in places like Orlando and Jacksonville, Florida; Nashville, Tennessee; Dallas; Phoenix; and New Orleans. They can also schedule screening visits to Atlanta; Savannah, Georgia; and Las Vegas in the coming weeks.
They said no final decisions had been made on a location – or locations.
The research is taking place as public polls show Trump is following former Vice President Joe Biden and his own campaign spending shows concern about which states he easily won in 2016.
The president met his key aides and political advisers Thursday in the Oval Office, where they discussed “very concerning” internal polls in reliable Republican states like Texas, according to a person familiar with the discussions.
He then addressed campaign staff and RNC staff in a larger meeting, where the president was “in a good mood” and “in a very good mood,” a staff member said in the room. He said he was “impatient” to get back on the road to campaigning, but no decision was made at the meeting as to when the campaign might revert to future rallies.
Some official convention activities, such as finalizing the GOP platform, are still expected to be carried out in Charlotte, given the contractual obligations and significant financial investments Republicans have already made there.
The part most open to the public, however, will be uprooted just 80 days in advance – in a very unusual move.
The Republican National Committee announced in July 2018 that the convention would take place in Charlotte.
The scope of a redesigned convention to nominate Trump for a second term depends largely on the cost and how quickly Republicans can raise enough money to fund events in Charlotte and elsewhere.
The idea of a multi-state traveling convention also depends in part on the ability to quickly work out logistics, such as how to accommodate delegates who have been planning months and years to travel to Charlotte.
But a grandiose statement of hosting the most attended convention in history is one that Trump, a former reality TV star who fixes on the size of the crowd, is very interested in making, people have said. familiar with discussions.
One way that might work would be for the gatherings to feed a location in Charlotte via video on the first three nights of the convention, ending with delegates attending the president’s keynote address on the final night in person in a different city.
If the RNC decides to tour multiple cities, the events will all have a “rally-like look and feel,” according to an official.
It is accepted that this has never been done before and that there is no precedent for a convention split in this way, because there is “only one decision maker who really matters”, and that’s the president, said that person.
The coronavirus pandemic has already dramatically altered the presidential race, with Democrats acknowledging the possibility that part of their rally will be held virtually. Republicans rejected such a plan for their event.
And Trump has said he’s not even willing to agree to changes that GOP organizers have been discussing for weeks, such as practicing social distancing on convention floor and limiting in-person attendance.
Mass protests in recent weeks the murder of George Floyd also complicated potential health considerations later in the summer. The uncertainty of a large spike in cases cemented North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper’s inability to ensure that thousands could gather in his state by the end of August.
The RNC has repeatedly asked Cooper to pledge to allow up to 19,000 people in the Spectrum Center, insurance it said could not be provided due to health and safety concerns.
Instead, GOP officials decided to move forward by surveying other locations in states that had more flexible coronavirus guidelines and would be ready to host a large-scale event. The Republican governors of Florida, Georgia and Texas quickly raised their hands.
Download the NBC News app for the latest news and politics
As for Charlotte, the contracts made two years ago are seen as foolproof, and the money that was raised by the committees to organize the four-day event there should still be allocated to the city.
Still, Charlotte officials are reviewing the language of the agreements and considering taking legal action against the RNC.
“We have not yet received official notification from the Republican National Committee regarding its intention of the location of the convention. We have a contract in place with the RNC to host the convention and the city attorney will be in contact with them. lawyers for the RNC must understand their full intentions, ”the city wrote in a statement Wednesday.
There are important unanswered questions about all the hotels and flights that were prepaid by the 2,000+ delegates who had already planned to be in Charlotte.
In one scenario, President Ronna McDaniel could hammer at the convention in North Carolina, and then a significant proportion of attendees would go together to the next site, where the President and Vice President could deliver their speeches.
Of the places GOP officials explore, Florida has been the most aggressive in courting Republicans. A person familiar with the talks said Florida was particularly a state to watch given the extent to which Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, a close ally of Trump, was pushing it.
But Trump could let the process go a little longer.
“I guess they will let this process become competitive,” said this person.