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Why Trump decided to cancel Jacksonville convention

President Trump announced late Thursday that the 2020 Republican National Convention will no longer be held in Jacksonville, Florida, in August. While some local officials expressed appreciation for the decision, Democrats argued it came much later than it should have. Yamiche Alcindor joins Judy Woodruff to discuss Trump’s alternative plans.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    And now we return to the president's announcement that the Republican National Convention will no longer be in Florida.

    Our Yamiche Alcindor is here with the latest.

    So, Yamiche, tell us about the news the president made this evening.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    That's right, Judy.

    The president began the White House briefing today with big news, that he was canceling the Florida event attached to the Republican National Convention. He's doing this after having moved those events and his speech from North Carolina after the Democratic governor there said that it was simply not possible to have thousands of people gather in that state safely.

    I want to read to you some of the reactions that are coming in.

    Here's the Republican mayor of Jacksonville, as well as the sheriff. They said both: "We appreciate President Trump considering our public health and safety concerns in making this incredibly difficult decision."

    The White House chief of staff, Mark Meadows, also said that this was an incredibly difficult decision. But Republicans — but, Democrats, rather are saying really this is coming way too late.

    The Florida Democratic chair says that this is really President Trump taking his head out of the sand. She says that this was a political stunt that was — that really wasted time and this is all ego-driven.

    So, the president, though, is saying that he's taking this step to keep people safe. I should note, Judy, that the president is continuing to press for children to return to school.

    So, even though he's saying that there are thousands of people who should not gather for a political convention, he is saying that children should be returning to school. And that was also a headline coming out of this White House briefing.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    It's interesting, Yamiche, because there had been advice. People, medical experts were saying it was not safe to hold a large event in Jacksonville.

    And yet the president and the people around him continued to say they were going to hold that convention in Jacksonville for many weeks.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    That's right.

    Democrats made the decision weeks ago that most of their convention was going to be happening online and virtually. But the president had continued to push forward with this idea that he wanted thousands of people to be there.

    The president now is saying that he's going to give some sort of speech. He's not sure where from. It's probably going to be from Washington, D.C. It's probably going to be streamed online.

    But it's just up in the air as of now. But it is clear that the president does not want thousands of people to be gathering in Florida.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    And it's all due to begin, just over a month away.

    Yamiche Alcindor at the White House, thank you very much.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    Thanks.

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