NORTH CAROLINA -- Following a Memorial Day tweet threatening to yank this summer's Republican National Convention from North Carolina, local and state leaders are responding to the president's statements.
Mr. Trump called for Gov. Roy Cooper to loosen COVID-19 restrictions and allow "full capacity" inside Spectrum Center.
While some states are leveling out, North Carolina just saw this past Saturday it's highest day-over-day increase in new lab confirmed COVID-19 cases, a total 1,107. On Monday, not long after the president's tweet, state health officials sent a letter to the RNC convention president, reiterating that the governor and his team's request for a written plan on how they will approach COVID-19 safety aspects of the convention. However, it appears that has not happened yet.
It's not unusual for one of the president's tweets to set off the news cycle. His Memorial Day threat to move the Republican National Convention this August out of Charlotte and North Carolina did just that.
"I'm not surprised by anything that I see on Twitter," Gov. Cooper said during a Tuesday afternoon briefing. "I will say that it's OK for political conventions to be political, but pandemic response cannot be," he stated.
One day after the president's tweet, Gov. Cooper responded.
"We want to see in writing what their plans are. We asked NASCAR to do the very same thing and NASCAR did a good job this weekend of executing their plan," he said.
Charlotte City Councilman Larken Egleston, a Democrat, is one that voted in favor of the city hosting the convention that's expected to bring in $200 million in economic impact: as many as 50,000 delegates and visitors, 7,500 volunteers, as well as a host of worldwide media.
"There's a lot more people that go into the arena during the convention than just the Republican delegates. It has to be scaled back. There have to be precautions," he said.
Councilman Malcolm Graham, also a Democrat, says planning for the RNC, with COVID-19 hanging in the background, should follow the governor's "phased reopening" approach.
"The president himself said that he was giving the authority for the governors to open up their states the way they see fit," he says. "I'm going to take the president at his word, and give the authority to Gov. Cooper to analyze the data.
North Carolina Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen says in a letter Monday to the RNC convention president that she hoped the governor's request for a written plan indicated a willingness to have further conversation with RNC officials.
"The president is a very optimistic and aggressive guy," explained Councilman Ed Driggs, a Republican. "He doesn't like being told that something isn't possible, so when he wants to make this happen, I understand that. But, we in Charlotte, need to be guided by the safety of our citizens and our participants."
Driggs shrugged off offers to President Trump on social media from governors of other states saying they would welcome the convention.
"We've been working for two years here to do everything that is necessary for the convention to be safe from the usual security standpoint, as well as now from the COVID standpoint," Driggs said. "I don't know how all the work we've done here could be replicated in a short span of time somewhere else."
Councilman Graham, however, shrugged off the tweet.
"I think the RNC is going to come to Charlotte," he said. "The question is what is going to be the scale and scope of the event and that should be determined by the organizers, right?"
The RNC also sent out a statement Tuesday evening.
"The RNC wants to hold a full in-person convention in Charlotte, but we need the governor to provide assurance that it can occur. We will need some answers sooner rather than later or we will be forced to consider other options."