Losing the Republican National Convention after North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper and RNC officials failed to see eye to eye on coronavirus restrictions would be "devastating" for the state, the state's lieutenant governor said on Wednesday.
"It's a pretty devastating day in North Carolina, but especially for the city of Charlotte," Lt. Gov. Dan Forest, a Republican, told FOX Business' Stuart Varney. "Probably the only hope that was going on in Charlotte was a big convention with $160 million pouring in, and now that's going away because of ... a negative action by the governor."
Not hosting the event compounds the pain of the hospitality industry after the coronavirus shutdown and then damage from looters, said Forest, who's running against Cooper in the 2020 election.
"Elections have consequences, and we are seeing the consequences right here in North Carolina," he said. "A lot of inconsistent decisions, as you have seen all over the country, where people claim they are using science and data but their decisions are all very subjective in nature."
Cooper could agree to a scaled-down convention but not the full-scale convention he said RNC officials wanted, the Democratic governor wrote in a letter to RNC officials on Tuesday afternoon. After President Trump said the RNC would pick a new state on Tuesday night, Cooper said the news was "unfortunate."
Here's more, from the Charlotte Observer:
State officials and Republicans had gone back and forth over the past eight days in a series of letters. Republicans spoke Friday about safety steps they would take at the convention, including temperature checks and daily online questionnaires for attendees. But they never mentioned face coverings or social distancing (and thus lower attendance).
Cooper and Trump spoke Friday about the convention, and the president asked for no social distancing or masks for attendees.
Republican National Committee chairwoman Ronna McDaniel announced earlier Tuesday that the committee would begin visiting “multiple cities and states who have reached out in recent days about hosting an historic event to show that America is open for business.”
On Tuesday night, she said on Twitter that Cooper had not provided guidance about what he meant by “scaled down.”
“What’s unfortunate is that you still have yet to give guidance on what “scaled down” means. Currently, you allow 10 people to gather indoors. Is that what scaled down means? Or is it 100 people? 1,000 people? Total lack of clarity from you,” McDaniel wrote.
Earlier in the day, a California committeeman from the Republican National Committee said he believed the convention would leave Charlotte.
“I think it’s done. You can’t negotiate with a guy like (Cooper). He’s a hard leftist Democrat that doesn’t want Trump to look good in his state,” Shawn Steel told McClatchy.
Among cities that have been reported to have interest are Jacksonville, Florida; Nashville, Tennessee; Las Vegas and Orlando. State officials from Florida, Texas and Georgia have made public overtures as well.
U.S. Reps. Ted Budd and Dan Bishop of North Carolina and Ralph Norman of South Carolina held a press conference earlier Tuesday, urging the state to accommodate the convention, citing its economic impact. About 1 million North Carolinians have filed for unemployment since March when the coronavirus pandemic shut down many businesses across the state.