President Donald Trump announced that the Republican convention planned for Jacksonville, Florida, has been cancelled.
He made the announcement during a media briefing on Thursday.
“This afternoon my political team came to me and laid out our plans for the convention in Jacksonville, Florida. It’s a place I love. I love that state,” said the president.
“The drawings look absolutely beautiful, I never thought we could have something look so good so fast with everything going on. And everything was going well, a tremendous list of speakers, thousands of people wanting to be there, and I mean, in some cases, desperately be there,” he continued.
“The pageantry, the signs, the excitement were really really top of the line. But I looked at my team and I said the timing for this event is not right, it’s just not right, with what’s happened recently, the flare up in Florida,” Trump said.
“To have a big convention it’s just not the right time,” he added.
The president said his political team told him they could hold the conference in a safe manner, but that he refused to put the American people in danger.
“I told my team it’s time to cancel the Jacksonville, Florida, component of the GOP Convention,” Trump continued. “We won’t do a big, crowded convention per se. It’s just not the right time for that.”
The convention was scheduled for August but critics of the president had condemned him and the Republican party for planning a large in-person convention in a state with one of the worst increases in coronavirus. On Thursday the state reported that it was nearing 400,000 total cases, with 5,632 deaths.
Trump said that he would still give a convention speech in some other form, and that the party would still meet in North Carolina in order to vote for the nomination.
“I just felt it was wrong,” said the president, “to have people going to what turned out to be a hotspot, you know when we chose it, it was not at all hot, it was free.”
The city responds
Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry and Sheriff Mike Williams released a joint statement praising the decision.
“We appreciate President Donald Trump considering our public health and safety concerns in making this incredibly difficult decision. As always, in Jacksonville public safety is our number one priority,” the statement read.
“President Trump has once again reaffirmed his commitment to the safety of Jacksonville Florida and the people of the United States of America,” the statement concluded.
Here’s a video of the president’s comments:
President Trump Cancels Florida Component of Republican National Convention