DeSantis Offers Florida As Alternative To Host Republican, Democratic National Conventions
Gov. Ron DeSantis said Tuesday the political conventions for both major parties would be great for Florida’s coronavirus-damaged economy as President Donald Trump has suggested moving the planned Republican convention out of North Carolina.
“Heck, I’m a Republican, it’d be good for us to have the DNC (Democratic National Convention) in terms of the economic impact when you talk about major events like that,” DeSantis said while in Miami to announce two appointments to the Florida Supreme Court.
DeSantis was asked about Trump tweeting Monday about possibly moving the Republican convention from the Spectrum Center in Charlotte because North Carolina wasn’t reopening fast enough amid the virus.
“My posture on all this is we should try to get it done as best we can and in accordance with whatever safety requirements,” DeSantis said.
Republican Party of Florida Chairman Joe Gruters, a state senator from Sarasota, tweeted Monday in support of Florida becoming the landing spot for the late August convention.
“Florida is committed to ensuring a safe, secure and successful event for President @realDonaldTrump and all attendees,” Gruters tweeted.
Competing for Trump’s attention, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp on Tuesday sent out his own pitch for the event.
“With world-class facilities, restaurants, hotels, and workforce, Georgia would be honored to safely host the Republican National Convention,” Kemp tweeted. “We hope you will consider the Peach State, @realdonaldtrump!”
The Democratic National Convention remains scheduled for the Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee, Wisc., a state that Trump narrowly won in 2016. The Florida Democratic Party declined to comment about DeSantis’ statement about welcoming the conventions.
The Democratic convention date has been moved from mid-July to August due to the pandemic.
DeSantis said numerous areas in Florida — Miami, Orlando, Tampa and Jacksonville — could quickly organize a multi-day showcase. But he wouldn’t promote one area over another. Tampa hosted the 2012 GOP convention.
DeSantis also noted he hasn’t spoken with Trump about the issue, but he already “let the folks at the White House know that we want to work with him.”
“We lost out on some of our traditional events that we normally do (because of the coronavirus),” DeSantis said. “Some of the golf tournaments, tennis. We had WrestleMania, scheduled for April, which people don’t realize is hundreds of millions of dollars of economic activity. So, I think that that would be great.”
DeSantis has invited professional sports teams to restart training and to schedule games in Florida, even if fans would not initially be in attendance because of the virus, which as of Tuesday morning had killed 2,259 Floridians.
Trump opened Memorial Day expressing frustration with North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper, a Democrat who the president contends is “unable to guarantee” coronavirus physical-distancing requirements will be lifted before the Republican convention, scheduled for Aug. 24 to Aug. 27.
“In other words, we would be spending millions of dollars building the Arena to a very high standard without even knowing if the Democrat Governor would allow the Republican Party to fully occupy the space,” Trump tweeted.
Cooper replied by tweeting a comment from his spokesman. North Carolina, like Florida and Wisconsin, is a battleground state in this year’s presidential election.
“State health officials are working with the RNC and will review its plans as they make decisions about how to hold the convention in Charlotte,” Cooper’s tweet quoted. “North Carolina is relying on data and science to protect our state’s public health and safety.”
Trump ruled out using one of his properties in South Florida for a relocated convention.
“I have zero interest in moving the Republican National Convention to Doral in Miami, as falsely reported by the Fake News @nytimes in order to stir up trouble,” Trump tweeted. “Ballroom is not nearly big enough & would like to stay in N.C., whose gov. doesn’t even know if he can let people in?”