2020 Republican National Convention

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2020 Republican National Convention
2020 presidential election
Trump Oval 2020.png Pence Oval 2020.png
Presumptive nominees
Trump and Pence
Date(s)August 24–27, 2020
CityCharlotte, North Carolina (day 1)
Various locations remotely (days 2–4)
VenueSpectrum Center (day 1)
Various locations remotely (days 2–4)
ChairRonna McDaniel
Presidential nomineeDonald Trump of Florida (presumptive)
Vice Presidential nomineeMike Pence of Indiana
‹ 2016  ·  2024 ›

The 2020 Republican National Convention is a planned event in which delegates of the United States Republican Party select the party's nominees for president and vice president in the 2020 United States presidential election. Plans to convene a traditional large-scale convention were canceled a few weeks before the convention, due to the 2020 coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in the United States.[1] The convention has been scheduled to held from August 24 to 27, 2020.[2] The convention is expected to renominate Donald Trump for president and Mike Pence for vice president.[3]

The convention was originally scheduled to be held at the Spectrum Center in Charlotte, North Carolina, but on June 2, 2020, Trump and the Republican National Committee pulled the event from Charlotte, the North Carolina state government declined to agree to Trump's demand to allow the convention to take place with a full crowd and without public health measures to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, such as social distancing and face coverings.[4] Trump then announced that the convention would be moved to Jacksonville, Florida, before canceling Jacksonville convention plans on July 23.[1] Some convention proceedings, albeit dramatically reduced in scale, are still scheduled to be held in Charlotte,[5] such as "small, formal business meetings."[6] The Charlotte proceedings would be closed to the press, but livestreamed.[5] The party then plans to hold the events and festivities, including Trump's keynote speech, at various locations remotely.[7] Trump indicated in August 2020 that he was likely to accept the Republican nomination live from the White House, despite questions regarding whether this would be legally permissible.[8][9]

By tradition, because Republicans currently hold the presidency, their convention will be held after the 2020 Democratic National Convention, which is scheduled for August 17–20.[10] Former White House Director of Management and Administration Marcia Lee Kelly was named convention president and CEO in April 2019.[11][12]

Trump faced only token opposition in the Republican primaries and caucuses, and clinched the Republican nomination in March 2020, when he reached 1,276 pledged delegates.[13] Trump had previously announced that Pence would remain as his vice-presidential running mate in his re-election bid.[14]


Original site selection[edit]

Las Vegas, Nevada, and Charlotte, North Carolina, were mentioned as possible locations for the 2020 RNC due to their locations within "swing states." Neither had ever hosted a Republican National Convention, although Charlotte had hosted the 2012 Democratic National Convention. A Charlotte television station, WBTV, reported that Charlotte, Las Vegas, and "another unnamed city in Texas, which sources at the meeting said were likely either Dallas or San Antonio" were finalists to host the convention.[15] Other sources named Dallas, Texas[16] and New York City, New York[17] as prospective hosts, while Las Vegas, Nevada,[18][19] Nashville, Tennessee,[20] Philadelphia, Pennsylvania,[19] and San Antonio, Texas[16][19] had been under consideration earlier. However, Charlotte was the only city in the country to officially submit a bid for the convention.[21] On July 18, 2018, the RNC Site Selection Committee voted unanimously to recommend holding the convention in Charlotte.[22] The Republican National Committee made the selection official on July 20.[23]

Rally controversy[edit]

Following President Trump's rally in Greenville, North Carolina, the Charlotte City Council proposed retracting their bid to host the convention. All nine Democrats on the city council voted on a measure calling Trump a racist for his statement ("good people on both sides" of the statue debate).[24] The city met in closed sessions with an attorney regarding their contract to host the convention. A conclusion was made that breaking the contract would likely end with the city being taken to court and forced to host the convention. A resolution was eventually approved by the Charlotte City Council.[25]


Republicans opposed to Trump's presidency announced their intent to host a competing "Convention on Founding Principles" to occur at the same time as the RNC in Charlotte.[26] Among the scheduled speakers are former CIA Director Michael Hayden, former FBI Director James Comey, former governors, former members of Congress, and Trump's onetime communications director, Anthony Scaramucci.[27]

Relocation and reversal[edit]

The Vystar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida was to be the main site of the 2020 Republican National Convention.

On May 25, 2020, Trump raised the possibility of moving the convention out of Charlotte after North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper stated that the convention would need to be scaled down due to the COVID-19 pandemic. After weeks of failed negotiations, on June 2, 2020, Governor Cooper rejected the plans submitted by the Republican Party to host a full-scale convention. Trump announced via tweet stating “Because of [Cooper], we are now forced to seek another State to host the 2020 Republican National Convention”.

RNC officials stressed that the mechanics of the convention would still be held in Charlotte.[28] "The RNC’s Executive Committee has voted unanimously to allow the official business of the national convention to continue in Charlotte. Many other cities are eager to host the president’s acceptance of the nomination, and we are currently in talks with several of them to host that celebration," said RNC Communications Director Michael Ahrens.

Republican National Committee officials reportedly considered cities including Atlanta, Georgia, Dallas, Jacksonville, Florida, Nashville, Tennessee, New Orleans, Orlando, Florida, Phoenix, Savannah, Georgia, and even visited some of these cities.[29][30][31]

On June 11, the Republican National Committee confirmed that the main events and speeches of the convention would move to Jacksonville, Florida, including Trump's nomination acceptance speech on August 27 at the VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena. However, the convention's official business will remain in Charlotte with a greatly reduced agenda and number of delegates.[32][33] August 24 was to see a portion of the convention hosted in Charlotte, with the following three days of the convention being held in Jacksonville.[34]

On July 16, the Jacksonville Republican National Convention Host Committee sent out a letter announcing that, in addition to the VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena, other venues in Jacksonville would be used, including TIAA Bank Field, Daily's Place, 121 Financial Park, and "several other" venues".[35]

However, with the explosion of COVID-19 cases peaking at above 15,000 cases per day in mid-July,[36] the possibility of the Jacksonville convention being canceled as well began to be discussed.[37] Several of the local health restrictions in Charlotte that had prompted the RNC to seek a different location—requirements for people to wear masks and practice social distancing—were later adopted by Jacksonville.[38] Sen. Chuck Grassley, who is 86, said he would skip the Convention for the first time in 40 years due to the risk of COVID-19.[39]

On July 23, Trump announced that RNC events scheduled in Jacksonville, Florida had been canceled, saying, “The timing for the event is not right.”[40][41][42] However, Trump also announced that delegate business will still continue in Charlotte.[6]

Convention committees, meetings before the Convention[edit]

The one-day event will take place in Charlotte, NC, as the party is contractually obligated to conduct its official business there.[43] Only about 300 delegates are to attend.

Committee on Rules and Order of Business[edit]

Platform Committee[edit]

Rather than adopting a new party platform, the Republicans decided simply to recycle their 2016 party platform, including several unflattering references to the "current president" and attacks on "the administration" (which in 2016 referred to Barack Obama and the Obama administration).[44] The decision was criticized by Republican activists.[45] In a tweet, Trump said that he would "prefer a new and updated Platform, short form, if possible."[46]

Committee on Arrangements[edit]

On August 1, a Republican convention spokesperson said that "Given the health restrictions and limitations in place within the state of North Carolina, we are planning for the Charlotte activities to be closed press" for the entirety of the convention.[47] The decision to bar press was criticized by the White House Correspondents' Association.[47][48] However, a Republican National Committee official cited by the Associated Press indicated that "no final decisions have been made and that logistics and press coverage options were still being evaluated."[49]

Only one-sixth of the delegates (336 out of 2,550) are expected to gather physically in Charlotte,[47][49] with six delegates from each state and territory.[50] On August 5, convention planners announced a number of health and safety rules for the delegates, vendors, and staff who will gather physically.[50]


Selection of pledged delegates[edit]

The base number of pledged delegates that are allocated to each of the 50 states is 10 at-large delegates, plus 3 district delegates for each congressional district. A fixed number of pledged delegates are allocated to Washington D.C. and each of the five U.S. territories. Bonus delegates are awarded to each state and territory based on whether it has elected (if applicable) through December 31, 2019 (after the 2019 "off-year" elections): a Republican governor, Republican majorities in either one or both chambers in its state legislature, one or two Republicans to the U.S. Senate, or a Republican majority in its delegation to the U.S. House of Representatives. A state is also awarded additional bonus delegates if it carried the Republican candidate, Trump, in the 2016 presidential election.[51]

Pre-convention delegate count[edit]

Under the original plan, 2,550 delegates and half as many alternates were to attend a jam-packed convention. As of August 1, 2020, all but Connecticut's delegates have been chosen and all are supporting Trump.

Only 336 delegates will attend the convention, and the formal nomination will be held in private, with no press in attendance.[52][53][54]

The National Committee will have its semi-annual meeting from August 21 to 23.[55]

Presidential and vice presidential balloting[edit]

With most of the convention canceled, it is possible that the nominations will take place by a virtual "voice vote" during the one-day event,[56] although proxy voting via the internet has been also discussed.[57]

Since 1988, the Vice-presidential nomination, in this case, of Mike Pence, has been ratified by voice vote.

Once the convention is over, the festivities will move to another city, and speeches, entertainments and other surprises will be presented from venues throughout the country.[58]

Themes of each televised evening[edit]

Once the business of the convention is over, the television show, which will be broadcast from 8:30 p.m. to 11 p.m, will begin.[59] Republican Party officials have given each day of the convention a theme: "land of heroes" (Monday), "land of promise" (Tuesday), "land of opportunity" (Wednesday), and "land of greatness" (Thursday).[59]

Place where Trump will accept re-nomination[edit]

On July 28, Trump has said that he would accept the nomination in person in Charlotte.[60] However, on August 5, he said he would "likely" accept the Republican nomination from the White House.[61][8][9] A decision to accept a party's nomination from the White House would break a norm;[8][9] the Associated Press noted that it would "mark an unprecedented use of federal property for partisan political purposes."[62] The proposed plans also raised legal questions under the Hatch Act, which creates certain prohibitions on the use of public resources for political activity, and the legality of the plan was questioned by Republican Senators Ron Johnson and John Thune.[8] While the president is exempt from the Hatch Act's restrictions, the law applies to other federal employees; the ethics director of the Campaign Legal Center stated that "any federal employee who helps facilitate the acceptance speech risks violating the Hatch Act."[62]

If Trump accepts his nomination remotely, it will be the first time a Republican nominee has done so since Alf Landon in 1936.[63] Presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden plans to accept the Democratic nomination remotely (the first time a Democrat has done so since Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1944); if Biden and Trump both accept their nominations remotely, 2020 would become the first election since 1928 in which neither major-party nominee accepted their nominations in-person.[63]

Broadcast and media coverage[edit]

It was announced August 2, 2020 that reporters would not be permitted on-site during the delegate business in Charlotte, but that the convention would, however, be live-streamed.[64] This would mark the first time in modern history that the media will not be granted access to the nominating event of a major party candidate.[65] However, the Republican National Committee walked this back, saying that the decision to bar reporters from entry had not been made final.[61] On August 5, Trump stated that the convention, in fact, would be open to the press.[66]

See also[edit]


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External links[edit]