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Georgia gov offers state as alternative Republican convention host


Last updated 5/28/2020 at 11:11am

Gov. Brian Kemp of Georgia makes a statement and answers questions from the media following a tour of Fieldale Farms while visiting Gainesville, Georgia, Friday, May 15. Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP photo/Alyssa Pointer photo

Zeke Miller

The Associated Press

Georgia's governor is offering his state and its "world-class facilities" as host of the Republican National Convention – a day after President Donald Trump threatened to pull the convention out of North Carolina if that state's Democratic governor didn't assure Trump that the August gathering can go forward despite coronavirus fears.

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, a Republican, sent an open plea to Trump Tuesday, May 26, to consider his state as an alternate site for the quadrennial convention, which is set to gather more than 2,500 delegates and thousands more guests, press and security officials. Plans have been underway for more than a year to hold the convention in Charlotte, but Trump and national Republican officials have expressed concerns that local officials may not allow gatherings of that size during the pandemic.

"With world-class facilities, restaurants, hotels and workforce, Georgia would be honored to safely host the Republican National Convention," Kemp tweeted Tuesday. "We hope you will consider the Peach State, @realDonaldTrump!"

Over the weekend, Trump complained that North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper was "unable to guarantee that by August we will be allowed full attendance in the arena."

He added that Republicans "must be immediately given an answer by the governor as to whether or not the space will be allowed to be fully occupied. If not, we will be reluctantly forced to find, with all of the jobs and economic development it brings, another Republican National Convention site."

Republican officials said a determination is needed in the coming weeks in order to begin final preparations for the convention.

Ronna McDaniel, chair of the Republican National Committee, said the president "is right to ask for assurances from North Carolina" about the convention.

"We want to have it in North Carolina; the president wants to have it in North Carolina," she told FOX News Tuesday morning. "It's just the governor. He has to work with us. Every state we talk to says we want to nominate the president here, but this governor is up for reelection and hasn't given us the reassurances we need. We need to be able to move forward in a concrete way. We are going to have those discussions."

As it tried to nail down convention plans, the Trump campaign announced it was promoting two veteran political aides to senior leadership roles. Bill Stepien, the former White House political director, will serve as deputy campaign manager, the campaign said. Stephanie Alexander, a regional political director, will become the campaign's chief of staff.

The pair bring additional political experience to the campaign's upper echelon, which is led by campaign manager Brad Parscale, a relative newcomer to national politics who ran Trump's digital effort in 2016.


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