The Florida Democratic Party launched the holiday weekend with a new digital ad panning the Republican National Convention coming to Jacksonville next month.
“The ad highlights recent developments in Jacksonville, including a poll showing 71% of Duval county voters say they’re concerned about COVID-19 transmission and an open letter signed by 200 doctors calling the RNC convention ‘provocative of disease, predictably harmful, and medically disrespectful to the citizens of this city’,” reads a media release from the party.
The minute long #NoJaxRNC spot delineates health concerns about the event, juxtaposing pictures of President Donald Trump supporters in Tulsa crowding each other in defiance of the COVID-19 epidemic with ominous narration from newscasts.
“Donald Trump’s disastrous response to coronavirus has already cost more than 128,000 Americans their lives, and now he is threatening tens of thousands of Floridians so he can give a speech,” said FDP Chair Terrie Rizzo. “Donald Trump needs to weigh the interests of public health over his ego.”
The spot comes at a time when Jacksonville is under the microscope for its surge in COVID-19 cases. The city has been overwhelmed by positive tests in recent days as it has reached the singular lowlight of having the fastest case growth in the country.
Speculation has swirled that the event may not come to pass. Vanity Fair reported an anonymous campaign worker saying that Jacksonville “probably won’t happen.”
The pressure is especially acute at hospitals, specifically UF Health Jacksonville, the sole safety-net hospital in the area that anticipates an influx of protesters and other out of towners, even as the hospital is all but out of ICU space.
UF Health has just four of 100 ICU beds open at its main campus on 8th Street on the western edge of the Springfield neighborhood.
However, at least one key figure professes to be unconcerned.
Speaking Thursday to reporters in Tampa, Vice President Mike Pence was vaguely affirmational about the convention in Jacksonville next month.
“We’re excited about coming to Jacksonville. I was in a meeting when I heard of very sophisticated plans to make sure it’s a safe and healthy environment,” Pence said.