WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump announced Thursday that he has canceled the bulk of the Republican National Convention scheduled for Florida next month, citing a “flare-up” of the coronavirus.
Trump’s formal renomination will still go forward in North Carolina, where a small subset of GOP delegates will still gather in Charlotte, North Carolina, for just four hours on Aug. 24. Florida was to have hosted four nights of programming and parties that Trump had hoped would be a “four-night infomercial” for his reelection.
“It’s a different world, and it will be for a little while,” Trump said, explaining his decision. “To have a big convention is not the right time,” Trump added.
Trump moved the ceremonial portions of the GOP convention to Florida last month amid a dispute with North Carolina’s Democratic leaders over holding an event indoors with maskless supporters. But those plans were steadily scaled back as virus cases spiked in Florida and much of the country over the last month.
Trump said he would deliver an acceptance speech in an alternate form, potentially online.
Trump said thousands of his supporters and delegates wanted to attend the events in Florida, but “I just felt it was wrong” to attract them to a virus hotspot. Some of them would have faced quarantine requirements when they returned to their home states from the convention.
“We didn’t want to take any chances,” he added.