Charlotte, NC – On Monday, President Donald Trump announced that the RNC would move from Charlotte if there were no assurances from North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper. Specifically, he wants Cooper to guarantee that the RNC can operate at full capacity in August. North Carolina still sits amid a restrictive reopening plan by Roy Cooper.
Cooper’s spokesperson responded to Trump’s comments on Twitter. It is the same line that Cooper has used throughout the closures and reopening plan. He implies that NC is utilizing data and science to protect people in the state.
Statement from Gov. Cooper’s spokesperson on today’s comments about the Republican National Convention: pic.twitter.com/xDuNWstqjQ
— Governor Roy Cooper (@NC_Governor) May 25, 2020
The issue is that Cooper has been far from reliant on science and data in his reopening plans for the state. It’s merely another line from the Democratic governor who sits atop a battleground state.
North Carolina moved into phase 2 of a three-part reopening plan on May 22. According to Cooper’s statements, this plan must remain in place 4-6 weeks before the state will consider phase 3 of the reopening project. Part of phase 2 applies explicitly to mass gatherings, such as the RNC.
The gatherings are still limited to 10 people, unless the meeting occurs in a retail store. Any retail businesses, restaurants, personal care and grooming businesses, pools, child care, day camps, and overnight camps can all have up to 50% of their capacity. This would exempt the RNC from operating.
Cooper’s statements on reopening indicated that he was looking for increased testing, better tracing, and to closely monitor the trends. The state has continued to expand its testing capabilities, has a stable hospitalization trend, and has plenty of hospital beds and ventilators available. It continues to exceed Cooper’s requirements for the reopening plan he set out.
Throughout the process, Cooper has continued to restrict specific businesses. Cooper has selected which businesses can open and which cannot throughout his stay orders. He was recently sued over applications of restrictions to churches, in which a judge gave churches a 14-day victory. Other lawsuits are in the process of going through the legal system.
President Trump is correct. Cooper is playing games with the reopening of North Carolina. If Cooper were genuinely looking at the data and science, he would apply his restrictions evenly across all businesses.
That simply isn’t the case. Cooper applies his restrictions as he desires. This would explain his insistence on sticking with his timelines, rather than the data. It explains his demands to transition the focus to feelings of safety, rather than the data and science as he describes.
It’s hard to keep up with the positions of Roy Cooper throughout this reopening plan. This significantly raises the question of whether he will allow the RNC to continue. Is he willing to put aside his pride and insistence on his plan to allow the Republicans their moment to shine?
Cooper is not going to commit to anything for the RNC or President Trump for some time. He has consistently shut out the council of state members and the NC General Assembly in his plans. It’s all a game of politics.
Roy Cooper is the one Democrat that can block President Trump’s time in the spotlight. He can keep Trump from having the spectacular, rousing convention of his dreams. In doing so, he will also deprive thousands of NC businesses of economic stimulus that they desperately need.