WASHINGTON (Gray DC) -- The Republicans are going to Jacksonville, Fla. It will be a second location for August’s Republican National Convention.
Gray Television Washington Bureau Chief Jacqueline Policastro spoke to Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel one-on-one Friday morning and asked why the GOP chose Jacksonville.
"Florida is the president’s home state, and obviously it’s a battleground state. We are right on that Georgia border," explained McDaniel.
However, the business of the convention will still take place in the original host city, Charlotte, N.C. That’s where six delegates from each state and territory will meet.
McDaniel explained further, "We will nominate the president and the vice president in Charlotte, and then we will move to Jacksonville to have the celebration where the president and the vice president will accept those nominations in their speeches.”
The Florida Democratic Party is responding. “First, let me be clear that I sincerely hope that the Republican Party is successful in keeping everyone safe at their events. However, I am deeply concerned that the impetus for moving their highest profile event to Florida was because Donald Trump wanted to give a speech to a crowd of people not social distancing -- and, given his previous public events, likely not wearing masks. Those are safety protocols set forth by his own administration’s public health experts to prevent the spread of COVID-19," said chairwoman Terrie Rizzo in a statement.
Florida is currently in Phase 2 of its recovery plan. But even in Phase 3, the guidance states people should minimize time spent in crowded places.
When asked how a big celebration would be possible, McDaniel responded, “We have seen a lot of political speech recently — peaceful protests that we all support obviously with the devastating death of George Floyd — thousands of people coming together to gather for political speech and change. And this is going to be another opportunity for our party to come together and nominate our president.”
McDaniel also says there will be COVID-19 testing, temperature checks, and sanitation throughout the festivities.
Protesters have taken to the streets of Jacksonville the past few weeks, and its Republican mayor is removing confederate statues in the city. McDaniel says there will be space set aside in Jacksonville for peaceful protests during the convention celebration.