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Confetti and balloons fall during 2016 celebrations on the final day of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. That won't happen in Jacksonville this year. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)


RNC to conduct official convention business in Charlotte

RNC looking at Orlando, Jacksonville, others. for Donald Trump acceptance event

President Donald Trump won’t accept his party’s nomination in North Carolina, but the Republican National Committee confirmed Thursday that it would still hold meetings in Charlotte.

“The RNC’s Executive Committee has voted unanimously to allow the official business of the national convention to continue in Charlotte,” said a statement from Michael Ahrens, the RNC’s communications director. “Many other cities are eager to host the president’s acceptance of the nomination, and we are currently in talks with several of them to host that celebration.”

Republican officials visited Nashville on Thursday and plan to tour other major cities in the coming days. The RNC’s top considerations to host Trump include Orlando, Jacksonville, New Orleans, Dallas and Phoenix.

The revised plans means the RNC and Trump are looking for a place to hold a one-day event, a far less complicated arrangement than relocating a five-day convention.

Gov. Ron DeSantis and Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry are welcoming the prospect, while Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings, a Democrat who controls the Orange County Convention Center, Orlando’s biggest events spot, has offered only qualified interest.

For the last week, the national party has sought to placate Trump with reassurances he’ll be able to speak to a full capacity crowd, while simultaneously working to uphold its agreement with the city of Charlotte.

Gov. Roy Cooper, D-N.C., has fought with Trump privately and publicly by refusing to commit to lifting terms of an executive order he signed limiting indoor gatherings to 10 people. By Tuesday night, Trump tweeted that Cooper’s inaction “forced” him to speak elsewhere.

DeSantis criticized North Carolina for adopting what he considers a “default no” to hosting the convention at full capacity.

“My view would be it should be a default yes, and then as we get closer, you can make determinations on how you do it,” DeSantis told reporters Wednesday.

Cooper defended his actions at a Thursday news conference.

“We want the convention here,” Cooper said. “We think it’s good for North Carolina. We’re not going to guarantee something that we know could hurt the health and the safety of North Carolinians.”

The city of Charlotte has already spent $14 million prepping for the convention, which it expects to get reimbursed through a grant. City Attorney Patrick Baker told reporters Wednesday he expected the RNC to keep its convention in Charlotte because he believes all other parties have held up their end of the bargain thus far.

GOP convention leaders met with Charlotte officials on Thursday morning to discuss how they will all proceed. The city said in a statement that the RNC confirmed their plan “to locate the entirety of the business portion of the convention in Charlotte,” but that some events that were originally set to take place in Charlotte would be relocated to a city outside of North Carolina. The city said they’ll meet again with convention and RNC leaders on Monday.


Republished with permission from The Associated Press

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