How Cooper should respond to Trump’s mad convention rant

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

It will probably be a difficult task given the political realities that accompany demands issued by the President of the United States, but Gov. Roy Cooper should, if at all possible, ignore yesterday’s Trump tantrum about the planned GOP convention in Charlotte this summer.

As you’ve probably heard by now, King Donald decreed that he would remove the convention from the Queen City (probably to light in some Trump-owned property in Florida) unless Cooper guarantees that it will be allowed to proceed with “full attendance” — i.e. without any of those pesky limitations on attendance that have been made necessary for large gatherings as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

As the Charlotte Observer reported, Trump tweeted the following:

“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,” Trump wrote on Twitter.

“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 forced to 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!”

Cooper’s office responded diplomatically later in the evening by saying:
“State health officials are working with the RNC and will review its plans as they make decisions about how to hold the convention in Charlotte. North Carolina is relying on data and science to protect our state’s public health and safety.”

Let’s hope Cooper (as well as Charlotte leaders and all other North Carolinians who care about public health) stick to this responsible stance. There could be significant progress in combating the pandemic between now and then, but it’s hard to see how bringing thousands of unmasked conventioneers to North Carolina’s largest city to hang out in close quarters for a week just 90 days from now is not going to pose a serious threat to public health. In any event, we hardly know for sure at this point.

And for what purpose? To serve as a studio audience for a reality TV show with a foregone conclusion — the latest self-coronation of a nattering and narcissistic nabob who probably can’t name three cities in North Carolina?

Honestly, political conventions have become obsolete anyway. Yes, it would be nice to bring some business to Charlotte at a time when the economy is struggling, but given Trump’s long track record, he and his minions will probably stiff us for for many of the bills associated with the event anyway.

The bottom line: Tt’s hard to see how the whole thing is worth the risk. Cooper should, at a minimum, stick to his guns.

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