By Bethany Blankley
Democratic Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi says she’s headlining the Texas Democratic Convention online June 2 instead of traveling to San Antonio while Vice President Mike Pence indicated that the Republican National Convention could be held in states that have loosened coronavirus restrictions, including Texas.
The Republican National Convention is scheduled to take place Aug. 24-27 in Charlotte, North Carolina.
The Texas Democratic Convention was converted to an all-virtual setup set to start Monday on platforms like Facebook Live.
After President Donald Trump tweeted Monday that the Republican National Convention may not be held in North Carolina because of Democratic Governor Roy Cooper’s restrictive phase 2 reopening plan, officials in Georgia, Florida and Texas said they would welcome the president and host the convention in their states.
Trump said Cooper would need to immediately confirm if the convention space could be “fully occupied.”
Cooper’s office said state health officials were working with the RNC to review plans, and would rely on data and science to protect public health. According to the state’s data, 621 North Carolinians are currently hospitalized for the coronavirus and 766 have died.
North Carolina remains in phase 2 of Cooper's reopening plan.
Republican National Committee chairwoman Ronna McDaniel told FOX News that “a lot of states” have offered to host the GOP convention.
Texas Republican Party Chair James Dickey said Monday that Texas would gladly host the Republican National Convention in August if North Carolina can’t guarantee full occupancy, according to the Austin American-Statesman.
“Texas would welcome President Trump and the RNC Convention,” Dickey told the American-Statesman. “Until then, based upon Gov. Abbott’s progress in opening Texas, we are on track for our state convention as planned in person in Houston in July.”
Vice President Mike Pence told Fox News Monday that Texas, Florida and Georgia are among the states the Republican Party would consider if North Carolina doesn’t remain an option.
“These national conventions literally take many months to organize and prepare,” Pence said. “The president is absolutely intent on ensuring, as we see our nation continue to make steady progress on putting the coronavirus epidemic in the past, that come this August, we’ll be able to come together in a safe and responsible venue.”
The Democratic National Convention could have instead been held in person if local officials had eased their restrictive policies, critics argue.
The Office of the Texas Attorney General sent letters to the leaders of Democratic-led cities – Dallas, Austin and San Antonio – nearly two weeks ago warning them to drop their restrictive coronavirus policies, which are stricter than the state’s reopening plan.
San Antonio and Bexar County can no longer require people to stay at home, wear masks or follow other orders mandated by local officials, the Attorney General’s Office says.
“We trust you will act quickly to correct these mistakes to avoid further confusion and litigation challenging these unconstitutional and unlawful restrictions,” the letter directed to Mayor Ron Nirenberg and County Judge Nelson Wolff, said.
Nirenberg, an independent, and Wolff, a Democrat, “largely wrote off Paxton’s letter as a political stunt with little if any substance,” the San Antonio Express-News reported.
The officials who received the letter argue their guidelines are in line with the state's reopening plan.
According to state data, of the 55,971 confirmed coronavirus cases reported in Texas, 35,292 have recovered and 1,527 have died.