Udayavni Special

Republicans to formally nominate President Trump for reelection at Charlotte convention


Team Udayavani, Aug 24, 2020, 7:42 PM IST

Charlotte (US): Republicans are ready to formally nominate President Donald Trump for reelection at a scaled-down convention kickoff in Charlotte that begins a weeklong effort to convince the American people that the president deserves a second term.

Despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, delegates will hold an in-person roll-call vote Monday in a Charlotte Convention Center ballroom before attention turns to prime-time programming. Many of the usual trappings are present — the signs designating each state, the gift bags with Republican swag,  but chairs on the ballroom floor have been arranged with lots of space between them and masks are supposed to be worn.

It’s a sharp contrast to the approach of Democrats, who created a roll call via video montage from states across the country to avoid a large-scale gathering last week at their well-received virtual convention.

The GOP convention is a crucial moment for Trump, who is trailing in national and battleground state polls and under intense pressure to turn the race around. Aides hope the convention will give them a chance to recast the story of Trump’s presidency and shift the campaign’s thrust from a referendum on him to a choice between his vision for America’s future and the one presented by Democratic nominee Joe Biden.

“This is a kickoff to many weeks of this heading into Election Day,” RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel told The Associated Press in an interview Sunday.

The parties’ election-year gatherings are typically massive events, drawing thousands of delegates, party leaders, donors, journalists and political junkies for a week of speeches, parties and after-parties that inject hundreds of thousands of dollars into the local economy and deliver a multiday infomercial for the nominee.

But the coronavirus has changed all that, as much as Trump has resisted. Just 336 delegates — six from each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia and U.S. territories — have been invited to cast proxy votes on behalf of the more than 2,500 regular delegates. And stringent safety measures have been put in place guided by a 42-page health and safety plan developed by a hired doctor.

Attendees were asked to practice enhanced social distancing and get tested prior to travel, fill out a pre-travel health questionnaire and participate in a daily symptom tracker. They’re also being tested onsite, have been asked to maintain a 6-foot (1.8-meter) distance from other people and to use face coverings as a condition of participation — though many attendees were seen openly flouting those rules Monday morning. The RNC has also committed to contacting every participant five, 14 and 21 days after the event to check on potential symptoms.

The event had been met with protests, and police have made several arrests.

After the Charlotte kickoff, most of the GOP convention will take place in Washington, D.C., at and around the White House, as well as by video. It will feature remarks from a long list of well-known Trump supporters, including members of the Trump family, conservative firebrands and everyday Americans who campaign officials say have been helped by Trump’s policies.

First lady Melania Trump will speak Tuesday from the Rose Garden, Vice President Mike Pence will appear from Fort McHenry in Baltimore on Wednesday and Trump will deliver his marquee acceptance speech on Thursday from the South Lawn before a crowd of supporters — blurring the lines between governing and campaigning yet again.

But first comes the “official business” in Charlotte, which the party selected in 2018 to host the convention. The location has been the subject of a dizzying back-and-forth after Trump in June angrily dumped the city because it refused to guarantee the event could be held free from restrictions meant to prevent the spread of the virus, including mask-wearing and social distancing. After a search, party officials chose a new venue, Jacksonville in the crucial state of Florida, which at the time had looser virus restrictions.
But as cases in Florida ballooned, Trump announced unexpectedly last month that he was scrapping those plans, too, and instead would hold most of the festivities in Washington.

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