The 2020 Republican National Convention is mostly virtual, but delegates still met in Charlotte, North Carolina, to formally nominate President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence. Mecklenburg County health officials are concerned about the lack of people wearing masks and following social distancing guidelines. On Sunday, Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said they were taking steps to prevent the coronavirus spreading among attendees.
After the convention kicked off on Monday, Mecklenburg County Health Director Gibbie Harris said she spoke with RNC staff about her concerns. Video from the gathering showed people not wearing masks or following social distancing guidelines by standing six feet apart. "I have been assured that they are working hard to address these issues," Harris said in a statement to WCNC. "All attendees agreed to comply with the requirements prior to attending and were informed that these requirements would be enforced."
#NEW: @MeckCounty Health Director says she reached out to RNC staff, concerned about what she was seeing. Asked for enforcement but I did not see people breaking up people at the front of stage or telling people to put on masks, from my vantage point. @wcnc pic.twitter.com/x3zvgAxNQq— Hunter Sáenz (@Hunt_Saenz) August 24, 2020
Last week, Harris told reporters attendees were to be tested before arriving in Charlette then again once they get to the city. "All attendees have been tested seven days prior to the event, and if they did not have a negative test, will not be attending," she said. There will also be daily temperature screenings and symptom checks for attendees, as well as staff. "The only events and meetings that are approved to occur are the ones necessary to conduct the business to nominate a candidate," she added.
During an appearance on CBS News' Face the Nation Sunday, McDaniel assured that the committee was taking steps to make the gathering in Charlotte safe. "From a safety perspective, we tested everybody before they came to Charlotte. We have been testing people on-site," McDaniel explained. "We are doing the things that are allowing people to live their lives, have a convention and do it in a healthy and safe way."
More than 300 delegates gathered at the Charlotte Convention Center Monday for a roll call to renominate Trump and Pence, who both made surprise appearances. In his speech, Trump accused Democrats of using the coronavirus pandemic to "steal" the 2020 election, reports CNN. "They're using COVID to defraud the American people, all of our people, of a fair and free election," he said, without evidence. The president later claimed the "only way they can take this election away from us is if it's a rigged election." At one point, he told the delegates to chant "12 more years" if "you really want to drive them crazy."