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It’s Official: Trump, RNC Bringing Convention to Jacksonville

Virus Outbreak-Republican-National-Convention
FILE – In this July 21, 2016, file photo, confetti and balloons fall during celebrations after Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s acceptance speech on the final day of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. President Donald Trump demanded Monday, May 25, 2020, that North Carolina’s Democratic governor sign off “immediately” on allowing the Republican National Convention to move forward in August with full attendance despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Trump’s tweets Monday about the RNC, planned for Charlotte, come just two days after the North Carolina recorded its largest daily increase in positive cases yet. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

The Republican National Committee officially announced Thursday that President Trump’s renomination speech and other convention festivities will move to Jacksonville, Fla. from Charlotte, N.C., after Charlotte refused to allow a large-scale event amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Thursday’s announcement ends the search for a last-minute convention site, after the commander-in-chief tweeted on Memorial Day that he wanted to move the convention to a city that would give him the opportunity to speak in a fully filled arena. In addition, the RNC indicated it did not want to require masks for Trump’s speech.

Certain events will remain in Charlotte, due to signed contracts requiring some activities to be held there. However, the RNC voted on Wednesday night to reduce the official business of the convention.

The GOP will now have about 70 days to plan a series of events that typically take two years to develop.

Local and state leaders in Florida applauded the decision. Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry, who is the former Florida Republican chairman, called it a “huge win” for the city.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican and a Trump ally, said in the RNC statement on Thursday that Jacksonville will “showcase Florida’s energy, facilities, entrepreneurship and commitment to bring together the delegates of the Republican Party at a historic time in our nation’s history.”

According to a state filing, the Host Committee will be led by Visit Jacksonville President Michael Corrigan, along with Rep. Michael Waltz and Daniel Davis, the president and CEO of the JAX Chamber.

Trump is scheduled to give his acceptance speech on Aug. 27 at the VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena, a downtown Jacksonville venue that can accommodate about 15,000 people.

RNC and North Carolina officials had worked for several months to have the convention in Charlotte. That effort ended when Trump posted a message on social media saying that he would move the event if he was unable to secure a commitment to hold a large scale gathering there.