Senate Democratic Leader Audrey Gibson, a Jacksonville Democrat, was unsparing in her critique of part of the Republican National Convention coming to the city.
Though the deal is not sealed, all indications are that the Northeast Florida city has the inside track on potentially hosting President Donald Trump‘s acceptance speech.
“My emotions aren’t complicated. They’re very clear,” Gibson said Thursday about the bid to host the event.
“I have no qualms about saying that this is something I don’t agree with,” the Senator added. “The interesting thing is that the reason this is happening in the first place is because the Governor of North Carolina wants to keep his people safe!”
“And so we’re going to endanger our folks,” Gibson added, “by gathering … because that is what Mr. Trump wants.”
“Jacksonville, Duval County is a swing county in a swing state,” she added. “Duval County went blue in the last election.”
While that is true, in 2019 the local party did not run a Mayoral candidate, suggesting a lack of confidence in the ability to parlay the November advantage.
“The major issue is that we have a divisive person in the White House … First of all, I think that it’s a plot,” the Senator added.
That conspiracy, Gibson said, was “orchestrated.”
“I don’t think Mr. Curry decided on his own to offer Jacksonville as a place for Mr. Trump to deliver his acceptance speech,” Gibson said. “I was hoping it would not happen.”
While the event is “still up in the air,” the Senator emphasized her opposition in closing her remarks.
Curry and Gibson have not worked as a unit in the last five years, and this divergence of views is just part of a larger disagreement between the two.
The decision could be imminent. If it happens, Jacksonville is on the clock, the same week the city passed LGBT rights legislation (again) and tore down a Confederate monument.
The opportunity comes after the President balked at a limited capacity event.
Trump put the Tarheel State and Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper on notice weeks ago but has yet to make a decision about whether Jacksonville or another city gets the main event.
“Gov. Cooper is still in Shelter-In-Place Mode, and not allowing us to occupy the arena as originally anticipated and promised. Would have showcased beautiful North Carolina to the World, and brought in hundreds of millions of dollars, and jobs, for the State. Because of [Gov. Cooper], we are now forced to seek another State to host the 2020 Republican National Convention,” Trump tweeted last month.