Washington: US President Donald Trump has announced that he is cancelling the Jacksonville portion of the Republican National Convention scheduled to be held in Florida next month in view of a spiralling COVID-19 crisis, a major setback in his effort to bolster his bid for re-election.
The move is a striking turnaround for Trump, who moved the convention to Jacksonville after North Carolina’s governor raised public health concerns about having massive gatherings in Charlotte, as the Republicans had long planned.
Trump, at a White House news conference on Thursday, told reporters that he took the decision owing to a spike in coronavirus cases in Florida.
“The timing for this event is not right, it just not right with what has happened recently the flare up in Florida to have a big convention it’s not the right time,” he said.
Trump said he took the decision to protect the people of his country.
“I have to protect the American people; that is what I have always done. That is what I always will do, that is what I am about,” he said after a meeting with his political team at the White House.
The US president said the team told him they can “make this (convention) work very easily” and there was “great enthusiasm” for it, but he made the decision considering the safety of the people.
“I said there’s nothing more important in our country than keeping our people safe whether that’s from the China virus or the radical-left mob that you see in Portland where I want to thank Homeland Security and others in law enforcement for doing a fantastic job over the last few days, Trump said.
The once in four-year convention of the Republican Party is held during the election year to nominate its presidential candidate. The convention was originally scheduled to be held in Charlottesville in North Carolina.
Trump is seeking his re-election for his second consecutive four-year term.
The Democratic Convention in Wisconsin has already gone into an almost virtual mode. Former Vice President Joe Biden is the nominee of the opposition Democratic party.
Leading by example, President Trump has put the health and safety of the American people first with his decision on the Jacksonville convention, said Bill Stepien, Trump 2020 campaign manager.
The President has built the most innovative political campaign in history and will provide exciting, informative, and enthusiastic programming so Republicans can celebrate the re-nomination of President Trump and Vice President Pence, he said.
We look forward to celebrating the historic achievements of the administration and exposing what Joe Biden is – the empty vessel, Trojan Horse candidate used by the extreme left to advance their radical agenda, Stepien said.