Lots of pundits will analyze the swing state significance etc .. but the reality is much simpler: they need a place that will bend over backwards to give Trump the massive crowd he wants, plus lots of hotel rooms and FAST! https://t.co/UoovLjZDhK
— Jonathan Swan (@jonathanvswan) June 4, 2020
Actually, per the Washington Post, it sounds to me like the RNC may have made a mistake by assuming Trump’s words were a command, and not just a negotiating tactic…. or the Oval Office Squatter’s habitual whining. “Trump said ‘we can’t do social distancing’ at convention as he made personal appeal to North Carolina governor”:
… In a Friday phone call, Trump told the Democratic governor he would accept his party’s nomination in an arena filled with cheering supporters, coronavirus pandemic or not.
He pulled from his own history, citing the June 2015 event at which he announced his candidacy for president after gliding into the lobby of Trump Tower in New York.
“Since the day I came down the escalator, I’ve never had an empty seat and I find the biggest stadiums,” he told Cooper on Friday, according to two people familiar with the call who requested anonymity to share its contents. “I don’t want to be sitting in a place that’s 50 percent empty,” Trump said.
Trump’s obsession with crowd size and the spectacle he insisted should greet his renomination came on a day during which extraordinary pressure was building on other fronts, as protesters against police violence began to mass near the White House and in cities and towns across America.
Trump, in the roughly 15-minute conversation, casually dismissed any health concerns that might arise from squeezing thousands of supporters — wearing masks only if they choose to — inside an arena to hear his acceptance speech. The full details of the call have not previously been reported. The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The president’s call to Cooper — who unsuccessfully pleaded, by praising Trump, that the president abide by restrictions set by health officials — came on the same day Trump called Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican, to see whether he might host the convention on Trump’s terms…
The fallout has sent RNC officials shuttling around the country to consider other options. Possible replacements include Jacksonville and Orlando in Florida, Nashville, New Orleans and even Las Vegas, the only other city that submitted a formal bid to host the convention back in 2018. Also in play are Phoenix, the site of a major anti-Trump rally in 2017, and Dallas, according to a Republican operative…
Only two cities offered real bids to host the Republican convention in 2018, with Las Vegas proposing a plan that lacked backing from city leaders or tourism officials. Charlotte only went forward with the convention after a contentious city council meeting that had over 100 people debating whether the city should host such an event…
Of course, once Preznit Bully Baby ‘got what he demanded’ from the RNC, he started upping the ante. MOAR CROWDS! BIGLY ARENA! By this time next month, he’ll be demanding a full parade down into the chosen venue for ‘the biggest MAGA rally ever’… like, a real parade, with GOP elephants! And clowns! (Well, no problem finding GOP clowns.)
Ed Kilgore, at NyMag:
… It seemed in public that the back-and-forth between Trump and Cooper was moving along predictably toward a compromise, but apparently the president demanded an unconditional commitment to a full convention venue with no social distancing or masks, and no responsible governor was going to go along with that 12 weeks out.
Or maybe one will. NBC News reports:
Two days after President Donald Trump said he was seeking another state to host the Republican National Convention in August, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is raising his hand.
DeSantis, a Republican, was asked in a Fox News interview Thursday why he thinks Florida can hold the convention and whether he would allow a full stadium of people, as Trump has been calling for.
… Similar vague but positive mumbling has been emanating from Republican governors’ offices in Georgia, Texas, and Tennessee (where the RNC is already conducting a site visit). There’s also talk of splitting up the convention (perhaps a sneaky way of making it “virtual”) by holding some low-profile business sessions in Charlotte to satisfy RNC contracts with the city and then staging the only event Trump really cares about elsewhere: a presidential acceptance speech in front of a full-arena, no-mask, hootin’ and hollerin’ MAGA assemblage of many thousands.
What’s unclear at this point is whether Trump is indeed determined to have an old-school experience even if it threatens to devolve into a coronavirus super-spreader event, or simply wants to be able to call the shots without any resistance from a “Democrat governor” like Cooper…
Maybe not Texas:
Dallas mayor 'not interested’ in Trump packing an arena for GOP convention during COVID-19 pandemic https://t.co/h897GuRKSy
— Dallas Morning News (@dallasnews) June 5, 2020
Although Dallas is on the Republican Party’s short list as it scrambles for a new convention site, Mayor Eric Johnson made clear Friday that he has serious qualms because of the COVID-19 risks.
Nor has the city heard from the GOP, let alone sought to lure an event that entails packing an arena with 19,000 cheering party activists — despite a claim from the party’s national chair that site scouts are focusing on cities offering to step in on short notice.
“I am completely indifferent to the politics involved of any organization that we’re talking about, but I am very much not interested in accelerating the spread of this disease in our community,” Johnson said during a taping of Sunday’s Lone Star Politics, a partnership of KXAS-TV (NBC5) and The Dallas Morning News.
Dallas is one of a half-dozen cities the Republican National Committee is eyeing as it scrambles to replace Charlotte for the four-day event set to begin Aug. 24. The others, according to several party officials, are Orlando and Jacksonville, Fla.; Nashville, Tenn.; Phoenix; and New Orleans. Las Vegas also seems to be in the mix…
“A large gathering during a public health pandemic is not what our community needs right now,” said Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, a Dallas Democrat and nurse whose congressional district includes the American Airlines Center — the venue at the heart of the 2016 bid — and the city-run convention center next to City Hall, where President Ronald Reagan was nominated for a second term in 1984.
In April, the Center for Public Integrity issued a report tallying $1.82 million that the Trump campaign still owes to 14 cities for security at campaign events, including $569,000 in unpaid bills from a February 2019 rally in El Paso.
“I do not want to see our city be among those not reimbursed in a timely and thorough manner,” the congresswoman said…
National political conventions have a reputation second only to the Olympics for promising glory and delivering nothing but huge bills, local turmoil, and enduring embarrassment to host cities. And of course Trump was a well-known deadbeat long before he got into politics, so good luck finding a venue that isn’t desperate or dishonest, Repub loyalists!