Georgia gov offers state as GOP convention host amid virus

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FILE – In this Wednesday, April 8, 2020, file photo, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp walks away after speaking during a news conference at the state Capitol in Atlanta. Kemp attracted widespread attention, criticism and even derision when he announced this week the resumption of elective medical procedures, as well as the reopening of certain close-contact businesses like gyms, barbershops and tattoo parlors. Kemp got no public pushback from Public Health Commissioner Kathleen Toomey, whom he appointed, but was criticized widely by public health experts at Georgia universities. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump is demanding assurances from North Carolina’s Democratic governor that the Republican National Convention can go forward in August despite coronavirus fears, as at least one GOP governor began lobbying for the convention to move to his state.

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp sent an open plea to Trump Tuesday to consider his state as an alternate site for the quadrennial convention, which is set to gather more than 2,500 delegates and thousands more guests, press and security officials. Plans have been underway for more than a year to host the convention in Charlotte, but Trump and national Republican officials have expressed concerns that local officials may not allow gatherings of that size amid the pandemic.

“With world-class facilities, restaurants, hotels, and workforce, Georgia would be honored to safely host the Republican National Convention,” Kemp tweeted Tuesday. “We hope you will consider the Peach State, ⁦‪@realDonaldTrump⁩!”

Over the weekend, Trump complained that North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper was “unable to guarantee that by August we will be allowed full attendance in the arena.”

He added that Republicans “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 forced to find, with all of the jobs and economic development it brings, another Republican National Convention site.”

Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel said the president “is right to ask for assurances from North Carolina” about the convention.

“We want to have it in North Carolina, the president wants to have it in North Carolina,” she told Fox News Tuesday morning. “It’s just the governor. He has to work with us. Every state we talk to says we want to nominate the president here but this governor is up for reelection and hasn’t given us the reassurances we need. We need to be able to move forward in a concrete way. We are going to have those discussions.”

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