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Florida will host Trump and Republican National Convention

Jacksonville site for August renomination, but already some are concerned about timing

President Donald Trump speaks during a roundtable discussion about "Transition to Greatness: Restoring, Rebuilding, and Renewing," at Gateway Church Dallas, Thursday, June 11, 2020, in Dallas.(AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
President Donald Trump speaks during a roundtable discussion about "Transition to Greatness: Restoring, Rebuilding, and Renewing," at Gateway Church Dallas, Thursday, June 11, 2020, in Dallas.(AP Photo/Alex Brandon) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel announced on Thursday that President Donald Trump will accept the Republican nomination this year in Jacksonville.

“We are thrilled to celebrate this momentous occasion in the great city of Jacksonville,” McDaniel said in a news release and on Twitter. “Not only does Florida hold a special place in President Trump’s heart as his home state, but it is crucial in the path to victory in 2020. We look forward to bringing this great celebration and economic boon to the Sunshine State in just a few short months.”

The announcement caps a standoff between Trump and Roy Cooper, the Democratic governor of North Carolina, whose team had been working to keep the convention in Charlotte despite coronavirus fears.

While Trump will accept the renomination in Jacksonville in August, the RNC insists some of its business activities will continue to be held in Charlotte, according to the Associated Press.

On June 4, during a press conference in Orlando, Gov. Ron DeSantis expressed his desire to host the GOP convention in Florida.

DeSantis said that the state would gladly welcome the $100 million economy impact.

"North Carolina approached it as a default no and then maybe we’ll see. My approach would be a default yes. Then as we get closer, you can make determinations about how you would do it,” DeSantis said.

The Republican governor acknowledged that he would take into account the prevalence of the coronavirus and statistics in Florida nearer to the convention, but that with mitigation measures such as masks and testing in place, especially looking months in advance, the state should welcome the RNC.

“That’s not from a partisan perspective. If Biden said they wanted to do Dem here, I would say OK,” DeSantis said.

DeSantis said that the original host state, North Carolina, may have missed its chance.

“Florida is honored to host this special event where we will celebrate the re-nomination of President Donald J. Trump,” DeSantis said in a statement Thursday. “Jacksonville is a great city that will showcase Florida’s energy, facilities, entrepreneurship and commitment to bring together the delegates of the Republican Party at a historic time in our nation’s history.”

Mayor Lenny Curry called the announcement “a huge win” for Jacksonville.

“The opportunity to highlight all our city has to offer and the tremendous economic impact is one I enthusiastically welcome, and we look forward to hosting an exciting event for all delegates and guests to enjoy,” Curry said in a statement provided by the RNC.

“I only see this exacerbating these problems,” he said. “The mayor’s concerned about the money the city could make. We’re concerned about the lives of people here in Jacksonville more than anything else. We don’t simply need to be concerned about dollars and cents.”

Ben Frazier, black activist, Northside Coaltion of Jacksonville

Florida’s prize of 29 electoral votes is considered crucial to Trump’s bid for a second term. That celebration could generate at least $100 million in revenues for the host city, perhaps more.

But Ben Frazier, a black activist with the Northside Coalition of Jacksonville, said the event would be disruptive to the city during a time of racial tension and a pandemic.

“I only see this exacerbating these problems,” he said. “The mayor’s concerned about the money the city could make. We’re concerned about the lives of people here in Jacksonville more than anything else. We don’t simply need to be concerned about dollars and cents.”

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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