Chuck Grassley Will Not Attend GOP Convention over Coronavirus Concerns

Chairman Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, speaks as U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer appears at a Senate Finance Committee hearing on U.S. trade on Capitol Hill, Wednesday, June 17, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, Pool)
Andrew Harnik/AP Photo

Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley announced on Monday that he will not attend the Republican National Convention in Jacksonville this August.

After a 40-year perfect attendance record, Grassley will not be seen at this year’s Republican National Convention in Jacksonville, Florida. This will be the southern state’s inaugural year hosting the convention after Democrat Gov. Roy Cooper declared that he would not allow the Republican National Committee (RNC) to host its full convention in its traditional Charlotte, North Carolina, venue.

“Going to a place where the governor feels that it’s safer is probably the right thing to do if you want to have a convention,” Grassley told reporters. “I think we should have a convention, but I think you should do whatever you can to make it as safe as possible — so that would mean with face masks, and with social distancing.”

As Florida tops 10,000 new coronavirus cases a day, having recently passed 200,000 statewide, 58 percent of the Jacksonville population oppose the relocation to their city. The convention’s estimated 50,000 attendees will be required to wear personal protective equipment, after an order issued requiring masks be worn at all public gatherings.

Even so, “we are thrilled to hold [President Trump’s] acceptance of the Republican nomination in the great city of Jacksonville,” RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said in June. “We look forward to bringing this great celebration and economic boon to the Sunshine State!”

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