The vote to renominate U.S. President Donald Trump is set to be conducted in private later this month, without members of the media present, a spokesperson for the Republican National Convention said, citing the coronavirus.
While Trump called off the public components of the convention in Florida last month due to spiking cases of COVID-19 across the country, 336 delegates are scheduled to gather in Charlotte, N.C., on Aug. 24 to formally vote to make Trump the Republican standard-bearer once more.
Nominating conventions are traditionally meant to be media bonanzas, as political parties seek to leverage the attention the events draw to spread their message to as many voters as possible. If the GOP decision stands, it will be the first party nominating convention in modern history to be closed to reporters.
“Given the health restrictions and limitations in place within the state of North Carolina, we are planning for the Charlotte activities to be closed [to the] press Friday, Aug. 21 to Monday, Aug. 24,” a convention spokesperson said. “We are happy to let you know if this changes, but we are working within the parameters set before us by state and local guidelines regarding the number of people who can attend events.”
The decision was first reported by the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.
Privately, some Republican delegations have raised logistical issues with travelling to the event, citing the increasing number of jurisdictions imposing mandatory quarantine orders on travellers returning from states experiencing surges in cases.
The subset of delegates in Charlotte will be casting proxy votes on behalf of the more than 2,500 official delegates to the convention. Alternate delegates and guests have already been prohibited.