WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump said he will no longer hold a large, in-person Republican convention in Jacksonville, Florida, because of the coronavirus but will hold virtual events and still give an acceptance speech.
“I told my team it’s time to cancel the Jacksonville, Florida, component of the G.O.P. Convention. We will be starting in North Carolina for the Monday, as has always been planned, we were never taking that off,” Trump said at a press conference at the White House Thursday afternoon.
Trump said that it was “not the right time” for a big convention, adding that he had “to protect the American people.”
“People making travel arrangements all the over the country, they wanted to be there,” he said.
Trump said he had spoken with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis about his decision and said that he would still do a convention speech in a “different form,” not the arena event he had hoped for.
Trump moved the convention from Charlotte, North Carolina, to Jacksonville earlier this year after officials in North Carolina raised concerns about hosting such a large event amid a global pandemic. Many Republican officials and party leaders had said that they did not plan to attend the Jacksonville event due to the coronavirus.