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Trump says GOP convention will be moved from North Carolina

(AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

PHOENIX — President Donald Trump said Tuesday he is seeking a new state to host the Republican National Convention after host North Carolina refused to guarantee the event could be held in Charlotte without restrictions because of ongoing concerns over the coronavirus.

Trump tweeted the news Tuesday night, complaining that the state’s governor, Democrat Roy Cooper, other officials “refuse to guarantee that we can have use of the Spectrum Arena” and were not “allowing us to occupy the arena as originally anticipated and promised.”

“Because of @NC_Governor, we are now forced to seek another State to host the 2020 Republican National Convention,” Trump wrote.

Arizona could be in contention as a potential replacement host, at least according to one Phoenix City councilman.

Republican Sal DiCiccio has campaigned for Phoenix, saying the convention would help jump start the metro area’s economy in the midst of the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.

“If you have a governor there that doesn’t value the amount of economic development that’s going to come from one of these conventions, we need to send the message that we’re open for business,” DiCiccio told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s The Mike Broomhead Show last week.

Organizers of the Republican National Convention said Tuesday they will begin visiting potential alternative sites after North Carolina’s governor told them the COVID-19 pandemic requires them to prepare for a scaled-back event if they want to hold it in Charlotte.

Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel accused him of “dragging his feet” on giving them guidance for proceeding with convention plans. She released a statement saying that while the party would like to hold its event in Charlotte, “we have an obligation to our delegates and nominee to begin visiting the multiple cities and states” that have reached out to express interest in hosting.

Republican governors of Tennessee, Florida and Georgia have said they would be interested in hosting if North Carolina falls through. Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee said that GOP officials are coming to scout Nashville on Thursday, calling the city “the best place in America to have a convention.

Wednesday was the GOP’s deadline for assurances from Cooper. Last week, Trump demanded Cooper guarantee him a full-scale event or he would be forced to move the event elsewhere.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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