DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – After President Trump threatened to move the Republican National Convention out of North Carolina, Texas GOP Chairman James Dickey said Monday, “Texas would welcome President Trump and the RNC Convention.”
The President made his comments in a series of tweets Monday morning.
He said said Republicans may not hold their convention in late August at Charlotte’s Spectrum Center as scheduled because North Carolina’s Democratic Governor, Roy Cooper, couldn’t assure full attendance would be permitted.
“Unfortunately, Democrat Governor, @Roy Cooper is still in Shutdown mood & unable to guarantee that by August we will be allowed… full attendance in the Arena.”
I love the Great State of North Carolina, so much so that I insisted on having the Republican National Convention in Charlotte at the end of August. Unfortunately, Democrat Governor, @RoyCooperNC is still in Shutdown mood & unable to guarantee that by August we will be allowed…
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 25, 2020
During an interview later in the morning on Fox News Channel, Vice President Mike Pence mentioned Texas, Georgia and Florida as states the convention could be moved to instead.
“We look forward to working with Governor Cooper, getting a swift response and, if need be, if need be, moving the national convention to a state that is farther along on reopening and can say with confidence that we can gather there,” Vice President Pence said.
SMU Professor of Political Communication Rita Kirk said the President’s number one priority now is to reopen the economy.
“This is another one of his promises – opening up the U.S. is really important to him as a President and as a leader so I think he’ll press this as a campaign issue.”
A spokesperson for North Carolina’s Governor said, “State health officials are working with the RNC and will review its plans as they make decisions about how to hold the convention in Charlotte. North Carolina is relying on data and science to protect our state’s public health and safety.”
Public health officials, including some in North Texas, have warned large gatherings indoors for prolonged periods of time could cause the Covid-19 virus to spread.
The President’s tweets come 90 days before the convention.
Jeanne Phillips, a former Ambassador to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development during President George W. Bush’s first administration, said the convention could still be successful even if it’s moved on short notice.
“Absolutely. Event planners are very creative. They’re organized and they love to make decisions. They do it all day long.”
Phillips is now Senior Vice President of Corporate Engagement and International Relations for Hunt Consolidated in Dallas.
After the contested 2000 election, she said she and her team had to quickly plan for President Bush’s Inaugural in far less time than normal.
“I put together a team of 500 people in four days and we all moved to Washington. We had 39 days to do a full schedule. President and Mrs. Bush did not want to compromise the schedule. It was wonderful and it all worked out.”
Professor Kirk said if Republicans were to move the convention out of North Carolina, Texas would not stand a better chance of landing it over Georgia or Florida.
That’s because both of those states are toss-up states in a general election, while Texas is still a red state.
Professor Kirk said, “Florida is likely. It’s a must-win state for the President. So I think it would be a really important decision for them.”
Politics aside, Ambassador Phillips said the Lone Star State could still pull off such an event. “In general, I think Texas has the attitude, wherewithal, and the spunk to take something on like this.”
She said Dallas, Houston and San Antonio are three cities in the state that can play host to tens of thousands of visitors and others.
“I obviously think Dallas could. We have a perfect facility downtown. We have amazing hotels.”
Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins later tweeted a link to this story and said he would not want the Republican or Democratic National Convention to come to Dallas due to coronavirus concerns.
The last thing we need right now is a large gathering of nationwide visitors coming to Dallas given we are currently at “red” our highest threat level for Cocid19. No offense. Would say the same thing to the Democrats —please go somewhere else. 🇺🇸 https://t.co/SvCElyOiNa
— Clay Jenkins (@JudgeClayJ) May 26, 2020