Iowa GOP Sen. Chuck Grassley says he will be skipping the Republican National Convention for the first time in 40 years, citing concerns over the coronavirus.
What are the details?
“I’m not going to go. And I’m not going to go because of the virus situation,” Grassley told reporters Monday, according to the Des Moines Register. The 86-year-old pointed out that he has not missed a convention — held every four years — since being elected to the Senate in 1980.
According to the Washington Post, “Grassley’s move makes him the first congressional Republican to announce that he will skip this year’s convention, which was moved to Jacksonville [Florida] from Charlotte after North Carolina state and local officials declined to agree to [President Donald] Trump’s demands for a crowded large-scale event amid the pandemic.”
Sen. Grassley added, “Going to a place where the governor feels that it’s safer is probably the right thing to do if you want to have a convention–and I think we should have a convention, but I think you should do whatever you can to make it as safe as possible so that would mean with face masks and with social distancing.”
CNN noted that Grassley is the oldest Republican in the Senate and also the longest-serving GOP member in the upper chamber.
The Hill reported that other Republican senators have also voiced concerns over attending the RNC next month — where President Trump will officially accept the party’s nomination — citing the virus.
During a conference call last month, Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) said, “We’ll see what the situation is then in terms of what COVID-19 is that week,” and Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) recently told a local outlet he is waiting to commit and wants to know “what kind of social distancing, what kind of precautions are being taken.”