In a tweet over the weekend, President Donald Trump threatened to move this summer’s Republican National Convention from North Carolina to Texas. Trump wrote that North Carolina has too many COVID-19 restrictions in place, while Texas has opened the state in ways that are more to his liking. North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper is a Democrat.
Meanwhile, in a Monday appearance on Fox News, Vice President Mike Pence said Texas, Florida and Georgia have made what he considered “tremendous progress” in reopening amid the pandemic.
“If need be, [we’ll move] the national convention to a state that is farther along on reopening and can say with confidence that we can gather there,” Pence said.
Jonathan Tilove is chief political writer for the Austin American-Statesman. He told Texas Standard host David Brown on Tuesday that Texas GOP leaders would welcome their party’s national convention here. But that doesn’t mean it will happen, or that it could happen easily with short notice.
“There’s really only one correct answer, which is to be enthusiastic about the possibility of the Republican National Convention coming to Texas,” Tilove said, of the Texas Republican response to the possibility of a move.
The Texas GOP is scheduled to hold its own convention in July with 7,500 people expected to attend. That’s about half the usual number. But state leaders haven’t yet committed fully to what has been planned, saying whatever convention they hold will be in accordance with COVID-19 safety protocols.
“Gov. Abbott hasn’t quite been declarative about this,” Tilove said.
Holding a statewide party convention would be a declaration that Texas is open, and would be a “shakedown cruise” – a way to test the waters – for a possible national convention.
If a national convention were to take place this year in Texas, it likely wouldn’t be in Houston, Dallas or San Antonio whose mayor’s are more left-leaning. Those cities have also taken different approaches to reopening than Trump and Gov. Abbott have advocated. On the other hand, Fort Worth’s mayor is a Republican, Tilove noted, which would make it a likelier possibility.
“It might be useful to the Republicans to do it in a location where they are certain that the local chief executive is a partisan,” he said.
Web story by Shelly Brisbin.
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