Cooper on RNC: ‘We Are Not Going To Sacrifice The Health and Safety of North Carolinians.’

Photo via NC DPS pool photographer.

By Billy Ball

May 26, 2020

North Carolina is in the midst of a gradual reopening during the coronavirus pandemic, but Trump has sought a “guarantee” for holding the late August convention. 

A day after President Trump threatened to pull the Republican National Convention out of North Carolina, Gov. Roy Cooper said safety will be the state’s “guiding star” in planning for the August convention.

“I hope that we can find some kind of reasonable accommodations, but we are not going to sacrifice the health and safety of North Carolinians,” Cooper told reporters Tuesday. “That’s the bottom line.”

RELATED: Restaurants and Salons Open Back Up as NC Cases Spike

Trump was reportedly looking for a “guarantee” from Cooper that the August event could go on as planned despite the coronavirus pandemic. Cooper said he’s asked the RNC to present plans for the convention addressing the possibility that COVID-19 remains a major concern in August. 

The governor added that his office did the same with NASCAR officials in preparing for the Coca Cola 600, a major stock car race held last weekend in Charlotte.

“They know that we’re talking about a time that is three months from now,” said Cooper. “So we have to have options on how this convention is going to be run depending on where we are with the virus in August.”

State officials have been cautious in considering major sporting events in the state, given the potential for exacerbating coronavirus outbreaks in large crowds. Still, North Carolina outlets buzzed over the weekend about an Alamance County race track that held a crowded event anyway. 

Cooper called the Alamance County race a “dangerous situation” Tuesday, adding that his office is considering its options for handling such situations.

“We would just encourage people not to participate in that kind of activity,” the governor said. “Because it can be dangerous to you, your family and anybody else you could come in contact with. It is a completely reckless way to operate.”

North Carolina has fared better than some states that saw early spring spikes of the novel coronavirus, although new cases have been trending upward in recent weeks as testing expanded. Indeed, the state saw its highest one-day total for new cases Saturday, with 1,107 new lab-confirmed cases

Cooper’s administration ordered the state into Phase 2 of the governor’s reopening plan Friday, clearing salons, pools and restaurants for dine-in at 50% capacity.

The governor and NC Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy Cohen urged residents to be vigilant despite the lowering of orders.

“What got us to ‘Safer at Home’ Phase 2 was North Carolinians taking individual actions to stay at home,” said Cohen.


  • Billy Ball

    Billy Ball is Cardinal & Pine's senior community editor. He’s covered local, state and national politics, government, education, criminal justice, the environment and immigration in North Carolina for almost two decades, winning state, regional and national awards for his reporting and commentary.

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