Charlotte mayor says city is preparing for ‘scaled down’ RNC event

Trump cited rising coronavirus numbers in Florida as he canceled the convention in Florida.

Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles confirmed her city is preparing for a “scaled down” Republican National Convention Friday, one day after President Trump announced he is canceling the RNC events scheduled to take place in Jacksonville, Florida.

“At the RNC’s request we have been preparing and planning for a scaled-down RNC event. We have committed to hosting a scaled down event and that is what we are going to do,” Lyles, a Democrat, tweeted.

“The city does not intend to and will not incur any costs in support of the convention beyond the reduced budget, which was approved by the Department of Justice,” she added.

On Thursday, Trump cited rising COVID-19 numbers in Florida as he canceled the convention’s appearance in the state. He said a much smaller convention, consisting of formal business, would occur in Charlotte, N.C.

Delegates will still meet to nominate Trump for the Republican ticket and he will deliver an address there to accept the nomination. The president’s speech will be streamed online.

“The timing for this event is not right, it’s just not right,” Trump said during a press briefing at the White House. “To have a big convention, it’s just not the right time.”

Trump added: “There is nothing more important in our country than keeping our people safe.”


Republican National Committee (RNC) Chair Ronna McDaniel said she supported the president's announcement, calling it a "difficult decision."

The RNC last month chose Jacksonville to host major portions of the convention, after largely abandoning Charlotte after a debate over coronavirus-related crowd restrictions.

The president and Republican officials were angered after Gov. Roy Cooper of North Carolina, a Democrat, said that because of the pandemic he wasn’t prepared to guarantee the RNC a full-fledged convention with an arena packed full of party officials, delegates and activists as desired by Trump.

After deciding to move the celebratory aspects of the convention out of North Carolina, Jacksonville was likely attractive to GOP officials because it was the only city under consideration as a backup to Charlotte that has a Republican mayor in a state with a governor from the same party.

The downsizing came soon after the city enacted a mandatory mask requirement for public and indoor locations.

Florida has been facing record spikes in coronavirus in recent weeks. On Friday, the Sunshine State added 12,444 new cases and 135 new deaths.

Even after moving most of the convention to Florida, the RNC had always planned to hold some business aspects of the gathering in Charlotte.

The Democrats have also dramatically downscaled their convention.

The Democratic National Convention, which was pushed back a month and is scheduled to start on Aug. 17, is being held in Milwaukee.


But the Democratic National Committee (DNC) said last month their convention would be mostly online, with delegates and members of Congress taking part in the convention virtually rather than in-person.

Fox News' Andrew O'Reilly contributed to this report.