Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Thursday made his pitch to host the 2020 Republican National Convention in the Sunshine State — arguing it would be a “mistake” to altogether preclude the physical staging of the party’s quadrennial presidential nominating event over concerns related to the coronavirus pandemic.
“You know, the shape of the epidemic is just simply going to be different. Hopefully, it’s a lot better, but I think we’ll be able to make those decisions about what precautions need to be taken as you get closer,” DeSantis, a Republican, said in an interview on “Fox & Friends.”
“But to just rule out a convention at this stage, I think, is a mistake,” he continued, answering a question about hosting the Republican National Convention in Florida. “So we’ve said we want to get to ‘yes’ on it, and I think you’ll be able to do it.”
The governor’s remarks come after President Donald Trump announced Tuesday that the GOP would seek another state instead of North Carolina to host the high-profile gathering of party delegates.
Gov. Roy Cooper, a Democrat, had rejected hours earlier the GOP’s plans for a full-fledged convention in Charlotte, telling Republican officials the only way the event could proceed was with proper health protocols in place.
The editorial board of The Charlotte Observer expressed agreement with Cooper on Wednesday, writing that “Roy Cooper wanted to protect the health of North Carolinians. Donald Trump was thinking about himself.”
But DeSantis appeared eager Thursday to take on the responsibilities associated with producing the event, and tied his support for an in-person convention to his aggressive approach for reopening his state.
“We understand that there’s a virus. What can we do to be able to have activity in a way that’s safe,” he said. “To just say no to everything, I don’t think, is going to work. So we want to be able to do it, and I think we could do it in a safe way.”
DeSantis also predicted the president would call upon the powers of his office to protect the health of convention attendees. Trump has “got people in his administration who deal with this safety stuff every day,” he said, adding that he was “sure they are going to be able to have ways to make sure that people [are] safe.”
“The last thing you would want is [for] delegates [to] go and end up getting ill, so — but I think that there’s probably ways we can do it,” the governor said. “So, ‘We want to get to yes on it’ has basically been my message. Let’s be creative, and let’s figure out a way to do it.”
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