July 24 (UPI) — President Donald Trump on Thursday canceled the Jacksonville, Fla., component of the Republican National Convention.
Trump said that the portions of the rally planned to take place in Florida would be replaced with telerallies and online events citing surging COVID-19 numbers in the state. Florida reported 10,200 new cases Wednesday for a total of 389,900 since the pandemic started.
“The timing for this event is not right, with what’s happened recently, the flare-up in Florida, to have a big convention … it’s not the right time,” he said.
The president added that he would still give a convention speech “in a different form” and portions of the event set to take place in the original host site in North Carolina, including nominations, would continue.
“We’ll be starting in North Carolina for the Monday as has always been planned, we were never taking that off, that’s remaining as it is, the delegates are going to get together,” Trump said.
The event was scheduled to run in Jacksonville from Aug. 25 to Aug. 27 and officials had in recent weeks announced measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 including requiring masks and limiting attendance.
On Monday, Duval County Sheriff Mike Williams said his department did not have the resources nor adequate planning time to handle the event.
The Republican National Committee originally announced its convention would move to Jacksonville in June after North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper, a Democrat, whose state was originally set to host the event, told the committee it would not be able to host a full-scale event due to restrictions related to the coronavirus pandemic.