At White House briefing, president also urges schools to reopen
President Donald Trump said Thursday that he was scrapping the Jacksonville, Fla.-component of the Republican National Convention that was scheduled for late next month, underscoring an apparent reversal of tone and approach to the viral pandemic that has crippled much of the country for months.
The president said he would still deliver a speech accepting his party’s nomination for re-election in a “different form.”
“I looked at my team and I said the timing for this event is not right. It’s just not right,” Trump said at his third White House briefing this week to discuss developments related to the COVID-19 pandemic, after a months-long hiatus from those briefings. “To have a big convention, it’s not the right time,” the president said.
Trump’s announcement comes as Ronna Romney McDaniel, the chairwoman of the Republican National Committee, informed members recently of a decision to scale back the event due to the rise in coronavirus infections in the region. Now it is being eliminated entirely and the president suggested that aspects of the event would be held via webcasts or online.
Florida and California reported single-day records in fatalities with 173 and 157 deaths, respectively, on Thursday, the Wall Street Journal reported. On Wednesday, Texas reported a record 197 deaths.
Trump also touted the country’s apparent progress toward a coronavirus vaccine, pointing to candidates being tested by Pfizer
and remedies that have exhibited early signs of success, including Gilead Sciences Inc.’s
The president painted a relatively upbeat picture of the state of the country in its battle against the pathogen, pointing to country’s Northeast as “very clean.”
“The country is in really good shape,” Trump said, excluding Southern and Western parts of the country, where infections have been spiking, even as New York state, once an epicenter of the pandemic, appears to be under control.
The president urged schools to reopen and reiterated the importance of wearing masks, and urged young people to stop going to bars and other crowded places. In the past, Trump has been more laissez-faire about mask-wearing.
Trump also urged schools to reopen. “We’re … talking about schools and we’re saying open…we have to be vigilant,” he said.
Trump’s coronavirus briefing comes as total cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. surpassed 4 million, a little over two weeks after reaching 3 million. The nation’s overall death toll neared 144,000, and new cases climbed Thursday by more than 72,000, the sharpest daily rise since July 16, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
The return of briefings also comes as Trump trails in the polls to former Vice President Joe Biden. The presumptive Democratic Party nominee has picked up steam in recent months, especially as other polls reflected disapproval with Trump’s handling of the pandemic.