North Carolina governor: RNC hasn’t submitted safety plan

North Carolina

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper listens to a question during a briefing on the coronavirus pandemic at the Emergency Operations Center in Raleigh, N.C., Tuesday, May 26, 2020. (Ethan Hyman/The News & Observer via AP)

North Carolina’s governor said Thursday that his administration hasn’t received the written safety plan for the upcoming Republican National Convention requested by his health secretary in response to President Donald Trump’s demands for a full-scale event.

Gov. Roy Cooper, a Democrat, said during a media briefing that his administration has yet to see plans for how the RNC envisions safely holding the convention in Charlotte in August amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

North Carolina Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy Cohen sent a letter Monday to the top RNC organizer asking for a written safety plan after Trump demanded in a tweet that North Carolina guarantee a full-scale, in-person convention will be held. Cooper and Cohen say that they had discussed various scenarios with convention organizers but want their plan in writing.

“We’re ready to hold the RNC convention in North Carolina in a safe way. And for weeks and months, the health experts in our office have had conversations with the people organizing the RNC about how to have it in a safe way,” he said.

But despite the request on Monday, Cooper said: “We’ve yet to see” any plans from the RNC.

Cooper said his administration required a similar written plan from NASCAR ahead of its recent race in the Charlotte area that was held without fans. He said he’s in similar discussions with sports teams including Charlotte’s NFL and NBA teams.

Trump threatened in a tweet Monday to move the RNC unless Cooper could guarantee a full-capacity gathering. Then on Tuesday, Trump reiterated the idea by saying he wanted an answer from Cooper within a week, or he’d be forced to consider moving the convention somewhere else. Florida and Georgia’s governors have said they’re interested in hosting

Asked about Trump’s demand for an answer within a week, Cooper told reporters: “We’re not on any timeline here.”

The convention’s media relations team didn’t immediately respond to an email Thursday asking about the request for a written plan in response to Cooper’s comment.

Cooper has gradually eased business restrictions, with restaurants now allowed to offer limited indoor dining. But entertainment venues, bars and gyms remain closed under his current order that also caps indoor mass gatherings at 10 people.

Local Republican officials have noted that Trump isn’t a party to convention contract and doesn’t appear to have the power to unilaterally move the event, which is scheduled to start in 90 days after two years of planning.

The county surrounding Charlotte has had the most virus cases of any in North Carolina, and the state is experiencing an upward trend in cases.

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