Mayor Lyles: Charlotte committed to host scaled-down RNC, no intention to expand

President Trump canceling Florida part of RNC 2020 due to coronavirus ‘flare up'

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles says the city is committed to hosting a significantly scaled-down Republican National Convention in August and has no intention to expand the event.

“The city does not intend to and will not incur any costs in support of the convention beyond the reduced budget, which was approved by the Department of Justice,” Mayor Lyles tweeted Friday evening.

On Thursday, President Donald Trump announced that he was canceling the Jacksonville, Florida portion of the convention due in part to the “flare up” of coronavirus cases in the state.

“I told my team it’s time to cancel the Jacksonville, Florida component of the GOP convention,” Trump said.

Florida was to have hosted four nights of programming and parties that Trump had hoped would be a “four-night infomercial” for his reelection.

“It’s a different world, and it will be for a little while,” Trump said, explaining his decision. “To have a big convention is not the right time,” Trump added.

The Charlotte portion of the RNC is going on as planned, which is significantly scaled down. A small subset of GOP delegates will still gather in Charlotte for just four hours on Aug. 24.

Mayor Lyles says the city will remain with the plan of this scaled-down convention.

“At the RNC’s request we have been preparing and planning for a scaled-down RNC event. We have committed to hosting a scaled down event and that is what we are going to do,” Mayor Vi Lyles tweeted.

The City of Charlotte provided a statement saying they had not received any notice about plans to cancel the Florida portion of the convention.

“We have an agreement in place with the Republican National Committee to host a substantially scaled-down business meeting and that is what we are planning to do,” the City of Charlotte said in a statement. “We have not received any notice from the Republican National Committee of any plans to cancel any portion of the Republican National Convention in Jacksonville.”

Trump says he will still do a convention speech, just in a different form.

He also says his administration will do some other things, mentioning the possibility of “telerallies” and online events during the week.

The president says he has spoken to Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and other political leaders in the state and in the city of Jacksonville.

Earlier this week, the Jacksonville sheriff said he was “significantly concerned” with hosting the RNC, citing safety concerns.

A WBTV reporter then found out the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office was expecting assistance from CMPD with resources. That seems to no longer be necessary with Thursday’s announcement.

The convention was originally moved from Charlotte to Jacksonville after a disagreement between President Trump, the GOP and North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper about health restrictions at the convention.

The argument was based around the concept of holding an event indoors with maskless supporters. But those plans were steadily scaled back as virus cases spiked in Florida and much of the country over the last month.

NCGOP Chairman Michael Whatley provided a statement Thursday night.

“The North Carolina Republican Party fully supports President Trump’s decision to cancel the RNC Celebration events in Jacksonville out of concerns arising from the spread of COVID-19 in Florida. Health and safety are the paramount concerns for both President Trump and our Party,” Whatley said.

There are no other details about the future of events related to the convention.

Copyright 2020 WBTV. All rights reserved.