Donald Trump cancels Republican National Convention in Jacksonville
Donald Trump signed a memorandum barring those in the country illegally from counting toward congressional reapportionment. Image via AP.

Donald Trump news conference
A small subset of GOP delegates will still gather in Charlotte.

President Donald Trump said Thursday he is cancelling the relocated Republican National Convention in Jacksonville — and the coronavirus is to blame.

Convention events will still be held in North Carolina, from where the President’s speech and other events were relocated weeks ago, in the interest of full-occupancy events.

But, for the second time, convention plans changed radically … and COVID-19 was the cause, the President said.

“The timing for this event is not right. It’s just not right with what’s happened recently, the flareup in Florida. To have a big convention is not the right time,” Trump said at the White House.

Trump, addressing media in Washington Thursday, said he “had to protect the American people,” which led him to cancel the event.

“It’s hard for us to say we want to have a lot of people packed in a room and tell people not to do it,” Trump said. “There’s nothing more crowded than a convention.”

“I told my team it’s time to cancel the Jacksonville Florida component of the GOP Convention,” Trump said.

Charlotte’s end of the convention will be as scheduled after the ultimately ill-fated decision to move the pageantry to Florida.

The Jacksonville Host Committee is fine with that, calling it the “absolute right decision for the health and safety of the people of Jacksonville and of the entire state of Florida.”

Before the cancellation, Jacksonville’s own leaders were facing their own moments of crisis.

A bill that would have needed to pass the Jacksonville City Council on Tuesday to authorize $33 million of spending to be reimbursed by the federal government, along with a host of other requirements for the event, was meeting resistance from the Council president and others.

At the same time, Jacksonville’s Sheriff pointed out his own concerns, including an inability to assure safety. These were qualms that neither the Mayor nor the White House could ultimately discount.

The President said that there would have been a “tremendous list of speakers,” with “thousands of people who wanted to be there. In some cases, desperately be there.”

But that will not happen. Still, the Trump campaign put a good spin on it, promising “exciting, informative, and enthusiastic programming so Republicans can celebrate the re-nomination of President Trump and Vice President Pence.”

Jacksonville made a big bet that it could pull off the Convention, predicated on assurances that the coronavirus would not be an issue. With logistical concerns mounting and time running out, the coronavirus that brought them the event in the spring took it away in the summer.

However, Mayor Lenny Curry and Sheriff Mike Williams framed the change of plans in the best possible way, almost like a lifesaver from the White House.

Republicans, by and large, issued vanilla statements of support for the move. Rep. Anthony Sabatini was an exception. He called it a “big mistake.”

Democratic partisans also had their say, generally celebrating the setback for the President.

“I’m glad Donald Trump took his head out of the sand long enough to realize what a predictable, preventable disaster he was about to inflict on the city of Jacksonville,” said Terrie Rizzo, chair of the Florida Democratic Party.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has been a correspondent for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014. In 2018, he was a finalist for an Association of Alternative Newsweeklies "best political column." He can be reached at AG@FloridaPolitics.com


10 comments

  • S.B. Anthony

    July 23, 2020 at 5:47 pm

    [S]aid he “had to protect the American people, …”

    lmfao, he’d rather terrorize the American people with his militia, more fun
    than looking at a bunch of old masked white guys in a building.
    or just kill them by ignoring the pandemic of a century.

  • jon

    July 23, 2020 at 5:55 pm

    God Bless DJT! Always looking out for us! So happy he is our president!

    • Frankie M.

      July 23, 2020 at 6:02 pm

      Yeah I know right! He’s like a joke without a punchline 🙂

  • Frankie M.

    July 23, 2020 at 5:59 pm

    What a blessing for the community! I guess he wasn’t “itching” to come to Jax after all!? ROFLMAO

  • Sonja Fitch

    July 23, 2020 at 6:26 pm

    Told you looting lenny that Putin loving scum traitor trump would be a no show. Lol lol lol

  • Booner

    July 23, 2020 at 10:07 pm

    Whoa! All of a sudden Trump does a 180 as the pesky virus ruins his grandiose plan for an Indoor Coronation cheered on by thousands of cult members in Jacksonville.

    Make no mistake- it must have taken an intervention by his handlers and family members to stop this runaway trainwreck. Dear Leader was incapable of understanding the danger to attendees. Bless his heart.

    No doubt Trump’s massive ego was disappointed, but he can always blame it on “Bling” Parscale.

    Perhaps he will smear the governor, the senators, and the mayor for their poor judgment and bad timing.

    Reality check – This whole fiasco was created, directed, and produced by Donald Trump.

  • KennethMcCarver

    July 23, 2020 at 11:03 pm

    How do you like Democrat Socialism? PORT, NY, CHI, ATL, WA, DC Minneapolis just to mention a few. All Democrat leadership doing the same thing…..nothing. Just like the third world isn’t it. Democrat Mayors ordering Police to stand down while the city is looted, burned. citizens beaten in the streets, monuments destroyed, police stations actually taken over and allowed to be occupied. The Governors do nothing as well. Antifa and BLM (founder is a Marxist) are the criminals behind this.

    Joe has recently stated that Police need to be de-funded If Joe Biden is elected America will be on fire.

    Biden wants to “transform America” If you vote for Joe Biden, you are voting for Bernie Sanders, or Elizabeth Warren’s far left platform.. Joe will follow the radical left’s agenda or Joe won’t get the support (and he is) of Nancy Pelosi, Val Demings, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Valerie Jarrett,. Rashida Talib, Stacy Abrams, Ayanna Pressley, Nancy Pelosi, Sheila Jackson Lee, Tom Perez, Maxine Waters, Al Green, and llhan Omar.

    This is the core of the socialists leftist wing of the Democrat party and are firmly in charge not old , confused Joe Biden. Biden will be a puppet to a liberal VP, Pelosi, Schumer, AOC plus 3 and the rest..

    Democrat Platform & Goals: (Do you even know?)

    *Citizenship for 20 to 50 million illegal aliens, DACA, TPS recipients and their families with a cost of billions.

    *Massive tax increases. All Democrat candidates have committed to tax increases of various amounts. Biden has stated he will raise taxes.

    *Sanctuary Cities & States. Joe Biden supports sanctuary cities.

    *Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Green new deal.(which would create massive unemployment, 100,000 jobs estimated in the transportation industry alone.) Joe Biden supports.

    *De-fund & terminate border patrol & ICE.

    *De-fund Police. “re-imagine law enforcement” (the left’s new term.) Basically BLM is determining where your taxes go and it’s not to law enforcement. Biden recently stated his endorsement of “redirecting law enforcement finds.”

    *Free Healthcare for Illegal aliens, DACA, TPS recipients (taxpayer funded with one estimate at 52 trillion) Joe Biden endorsed.

    *Ending of all private / employer based health care. “Medicare for all”, Feds run everything.

    *Illegal Aliens eligible for welfare & food stamps. (Elizabeth Warren’s plan adopted) Endorsed by Biden.

    *Reparations for race’s harmed by Caucasians. Joe Biden committed to support Sheila Jackson Lee’s reparations bill in the House. Basically a tax will be levied on all Caucasians in America. (you can’t make this stuff up)

    *Free college for all, including illegal aliens (taxpayer funded with estimates in the billions. Bernie Sanders plan adopted.

    *Decriminalization of illegal entry into our country.

    *Open Borders.

    *End all deportations of illegal aliens, if you get here, you stay. Bernie’s website calls it a “moratorium” on deportations.

    *Drivers Licenses for illegal aliens (already happening in states with Democrat leadership. Biden endorsed

    *Late term abortions up to 9 months.

    * Destruction and erasing our history.

    Democrats want to make this election all about President Trump. NOT their platform & Goals and Joe Biden for obvious reasons.

    • Tjb

      July 24, 2020 at 11:06 am

      Looks like Trump is backing out because he realizes that the republican delegates are not coming to his convention. He is afraid of another Tulsa . Too many empty seats is his greatest fear not COVID-19.

    • Booner

      July 24, 2020 at 12:13 pm

      Comrade KennethMcarver: Dial back on the off-topic whatanoutery, Trump and DeSantis cult member. Go back to Miscow!

  • Ellis Hartford

    July 23, 2020 at 11:37 pm

    The republicans now have no hope of winning the presidential election. Even possibly the Senate. I pray that when the democrats take power, they will do everything possible to hurt the republicans the same way they hurt others. Strip all their rights away, take their property, and throw them all in jail, strip their citizenship and deport them to Europe, especially that no good dirty bastard pig Donald Trump. Retribution is coming on November 3, 2020.

Comments are closed.


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