President Donald Trump announced during his coronavirus news briefing July 23 that he canceled the Republican National Convention planned for Aug. 24-27 in Jacksonville.
According to CNN.com, Trump informed his convention team that “it’s time to cancel the Jacksonville component of the GOP convention.”
“We won’t do a big, crowded convention per se, it’s just not the right time for that,” Trump said.
Trump said delegates will still meet in Charlotte, North Carolina, for the RNC’s official business of nominating him as the GOP's presidential nominee.
Trump told reporters during the news conference that Florida officials didn’t ask him to cancel, but he made the decision because of safety concerns during the COVID-19 pandemic.
After Trump's announcement, Mayor Lenny Curry and Sheriff Mike Williams made a joint statement on the city's Twitter feed:
"We appreciate President Donald Trump considering our public health and safety concerns in making this incredibly difficult decision. As always, in Jacksonville public safety is our number one priority. President Trump has once again reaffirmed his commitment to the safety of Jacksonville Florida and the people of the United States of America."
Republican Party of Duval County Chair Dean Black also released a statement:
"We have said all along that Republican leaders would put the safety and security of our citizens above all else. While this was not the outcome we were hoping for, we know that President Trump made this decision with the knowledge that he was doing what is best for the people of Jacksonville. The thousands upon thousands of Republicans who volunteered for the convention will now enthusiastically turn to the task of campaigning to re-elect President Trump!"
The Jacksonville 2020 Host Committee released this statement:
"President Trump made the absolute right decision for the health and safety of the people of Jacksonville and of the entire state of Florida. The rise in the number of COVID-19 cases in Florida is serious and the President and the RNC have demonstrated great concern for the safety of all Floridians."
City Director of Public Affairs Nikki Kimbleton said Curry will not speak with local media July 24 after previously stating he would hold a news conference to address the convention's cancelation.
Curry will be interviewed by Fox News at 3 p.m. and CNN's Wolf Blitzer at 6 p.m.
Kimbleton said Curry will speak with local reporters "at the beginning of next week."
By: Mike Mendenhall