ABC NewsBY: LIBBY CATHEY
(WASHINGTON) — President Donald Trump announced Thursday that he’s told the Republican National Committee to cancel convention events in Jacksonville, Florida, as cases of coronavirus surge in the state, saying “it’s not the right time.”
“I told my team it’s time to cancel the Jacksonville, Florida, component of the GOP convention,” he said at a White House news conference on the crisis. “We will be starting in North Carolina for the Monday, as has always been planned,” Trump said, weeks after cancelling most convention events there.
Trump had demanded the Republican National Committee find another place other than Charlotte, North Carolina, for the convention back in June — in large part to avoid social distancing and mask requirements.
On Thursday, Trump announced he’s canceling the convention for the same reason.
“So, the delegates are going to North Carolina, and they’ll be doing the nomination,” he said Thursday.
BREAKING: Pres. Trump says he is cancelling Jacksonville, FL, portion of Republican National Convention, citing state’s surge in COVID-19 cases.
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) July 23, 2020
“And we’re going to do some other things with tele-rallies and online — the week that we are discussing, which will be really good,” Trump continued. “I’ll still do a convention speech in a different form, but we won’t do a big, crowded convention, per se. It’s just not the right time for that.”
After months of downplaying the severity of the pandemic — pushing states to reopen and resisting modeling social distancing and mask wearing practices — Trump said the desire to “set an example” helped drive the decision but justified his decision to reopen schools.
ABC News’ Will Steakin and Terrance Smith contributed to this report.
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