• North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper says he wants the GOP to submit a plan for a scaled-down convention
  • Trump accused Cooper of still being in shelter-in-place mode
  • Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp tweeted he hoped Trump would consider Georgia for the conclave

President Trump says he will pull the Republican National Convention from Charlotte, North Carolina, because of Gov. Roy Cooper’s reluctance to allow 19,000 delegates to pack the Spectrum Center arena. Cooper had until Wednesday to decide whether to lift all social distancing restrictions imposed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic for the GOP to hold its conclave Aug. 24-27 to nominate Trump as its 2020 presidential candidate.

“The people of North Carolina do not know what the status of COVID-19 will be in August, so planning for a scaled-down convention with fewer people, social distancing and face coverings is a necessity,” Cooper wrote in the letter Tuesday.

“We are happy to continue talking with you about what a scaled-down convention would look like and we still await your proposed plan for that. We also await answers to the safety questions posed by our state Health and Human Services secretary, specifically regarding social distancing and face coverings.”

Trump rejected Cooper’s letter, castigating the governor for jeopardizing the “millions of dollars, and jobs for the state. Because of @NC_Governor, we are now forced to seek another state to host the 2020 Republican National Convention.” He also berated the governor for being “still in shelter-in-place mode.”

Cooper is a Democrat.

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, a Republican who opened up his state weeks ago, jumped on the opportunity early Wednesday.

Party officials were expected to scout sites in Nashville later this week, Politico reported. Other possible sites include Las Vegas, and Orlando and Jacksonville, Florida.

“We have an obligation to our delegates and nominee to begin visiting the multiple cities and states who have reached out in recent days about hosting an historic event to show that America is open for business,” Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said in a statement.

“The president and chairwoman have been clear on our intent to hold our convention in Charlotte. We are awaiting confirmation from the governor that the originally contracted convention can still be held at the Spectrum Center,” RNC spokesperson Mike Reed told Politico.

Tensions have been growing between the Republican National Committee and Cooper for weeks over coronavirus restrictions. The GOP has been planning a Charlotte convention for two years.

Democrats are deciding whether to hold their Aug. 17-20, originally planned for Milwaukee, virtually amid fears a massive gathering could lead to a new wave of COVID-19 cases.

As of Tuesday, nearly 30,000 coronavirus cases had been confirmed in North Carolina with 716 currently hospitalized for COVID-19 and 21 deaths.

North Carolina is a key swing state and has voted Republican in every presidential election since 1980, save 2012. It has 15 electoral votes.

The Washington Post reported even if the convention moves, much of its official business still would be conducted in Charlotte. What Republicans would need a new site for is Trump’s broadcast acceptance speech and the massive crowd he wants to hear it.