It’s the political party whose members openly mock masks, lambast the nation’s top infectious disease expert as a partisan hack for simply doing his job, and protect a president whose chief response to a pandemic has been to deny, deny, deny. But when it comes to re-anointing Donald Trump as the Republican Party standard-bearer, coronavirus safety suddenly matters. When Donald Trump is renominated for president later this month in Charlotte, North Carolina, it will be a private affair, according to a Republican National Convention spokesperson on Saturday. No press allowed.
While Trump called off the public components of the convention in Florida last month, citing spiking cases of the virus across the country, 336 delegates are scheduled to gather in Charlotte, North Carolina, on 24 August to formally vote to make Trump the GOP standard-bearer once more.
Nominating conventions are traditionally meant to be media bonanzas, as political parties seek to leverage the attention the events draw to spread their message to as many voters as possible. If the GOP decision stands, it will mark the first party nominating convention in modern history to be closed to reporters.
“Given the health restrictions and limitations in place within the state of North Carolina, we are planning for the Charlotte activities to be closed [to] press Friday, August 21–Monday, August 24,” a convention spokeswoman said.
That might change, the spokesperson admitted. We’ll see. In the meantime, there’ll be no shortage of press-packed events featuring Trump gorging on free airtime, lavishly flouting safety concerns and sickening his staff, while blaming everyone but himself.