Monday, May 25, 2020

What did Donald Trump do today?

He called for the Republican National Convention to be moved from North Carolina.

The Republican National Convention is scheduled to be held in Charlotte, North Carolina, in late August, about 13 weeks from now. Today, Trump tweeted this:

I love the Great State of North Carolina, so much so that I insisted on having the Republican National Convention in Charlotte at the end of August. Unfortunately, Democrat Governor, @RoyCooperNC is still in Shutdown mood & unable to guarantee that by August we will be allowed......full attendance in the Arena. In other words, we would be spending millions of dollars building the Arena to a very high standard without even knowing if the Democrat Governor would allow the Republican Party to fully occupy the space. Plans are being.......made by many thousands of enthusiastic Republicans, and others, to head to beautiful North Carolina in August. They must be immediately given an answer by the Governor as to whether or not the space will be allowed to be fully occupied. If not, we will be reluctantly find, with all of the jobs and economic development it brings, another Republican National Convention site. This is not something I want to do. Thank you, and I LOVE the people of North Carolina!

This much is correct: Gov. Cooper, like every governor in every state, has not issued any orders guaranteeing that fifty thousand people will be allowed to congregate in a single indoor location any time soon.

To put this in context, there are three "phases" in Trump's own reopening plan. Exactly one state, New York, is even arguably moving towards meeting the criteria for Phase One.

Here is what this would allow New York to do:

In other words, Trump's own rules would allow Trump to hold a ten-person convention, and only in New York. In order to hold a convention with 50,000 people, states would need to reach Phase Three, according to the Trump administration.

North Carolina is one of 24 states that are not only not meeting Phase One standards, but moving away from them because infections are uncontrolled and increasing.

In fairness to Trump, he has never suggested his own administration's rules be followed or even read. Specific CDC instructions based on these rules was censored within the Trump White House, and then released only under pressure and in a heavily edited form. He may be angling to get a scaled-down version of the convention moved to Texas—a normally solidly Republican state that is slipping away from him in the polls—or to Florida, where his hotels and resorts can charge the GOP for the privilege of nominating him.

Why does this matter?

  • The health and safety of the American people in every state are more important than Donald Trump getting to fill up an arena during an infectious disease outbreak.
  • One way for Trump to have had a better chance at a big crowded indoor convention would have been to take responsibility for reducing the spread of the virus.