JACKSONVILLE, Fla — The Republican National Committee Communications says, “RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel Announces Jacksonville, Florida as Host City to Celebrate President Trump’s Acceptance of Nomination.”
“We are thrilled to celebrate this momentous occasion in the great city of Jacksonville,” McDaniel said. “Not only does Florida hold a special place in President Trump’s heart as his home state, but it is crucial in the path to victory in 2020. We look forward to bringing this great celebration and economic boon to the Sunshine State in just a few short months.”
McDaniel made the announcement a day after saying that Jacksonville was a front-runner to hold the event. The governor of North Carolina, the official host of this summer’s Republican National Convention, had balked at promising Trump a full-blown convention in Charlotte free from social distancing measures during the coronavirus pandemic.
McDaniel said the event would be held at the VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena, which holds 15,000 people. She said more details would be released in the coming weeks.
The party’s more mundane business, including discussions over the platform, will still be held in Charlotte because of contractual obligations.
The RNC had spent the last week scouting locations after North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper rejected Trump’s demand that the convention be allowed to take place Aug. 24-27 without social distancing measures.
Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry, a former chair of the state Republican Party, tweeted a video announcing his city’s selection for Trump’s speech. He said Jacksonville would be prepared and ready.
“What city would take on the Republican National Convention with just 75 days to pull it off?” he asked. “Probably not many. But Jacksonville isn’t just any city.”
Terrie Rizzo, the chair of the state’s Democratic Party, expressed concern about the gathering.
“I am deeply concerned that the impetus for moving their highest profile event to Florida was because Donald Trump wanted to give a speech to a crowd of people not social distancing -- and, given his previous public events, likely not wearing masks,” she said.
“Trump is coming to Florida to throw himself a big party — but it’s looking more and more like a goodbye party to his chance at a second term in the White House,” she said.
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