CLEVELAND — Six years ago this week the city of Cleveland was playing host to members of the Republican National Convention’s Site Selection Committee, wining and dining them as they showed off just a little of what Cleveland could pull off if they were awarded the 2016 RNC.
Their sales job worked with the city landing and pulling off a successful convention bringing in 48,000 visitors and generating $188 million in economic impact.
So would there be any interest in doing it again, say in like two and a half months? Governor DeWine said Wednesday we’ll pass.
"This would not be something that we think that we would volunteer to do,” DeWine said on Fox & Friends.
The very idea came up for discussion after President Trump told the Democratic Governor of North Carolina Roy Cooper that he wanted to hold a full on traditional convention mid-August in Charlotte. That was something Cooper was not comfortable in signing off on just yet as the state and the nation slowly reopens in the coronavirus pandemic.
"It's okay for political conventions to be political but pandemic response cannot be,” Cooper said.
On Tuesday evening the president tweeted that because “Cooper and his representatives refuse to guarantee that we can have use of the Spectrum Arena… we are now forced to seek another state to host the 2020 Republican National Convention.”
The Republican governors of Florida, Georgia and Tennessee are among those reportedly interested in being the new site of the convention if it were to move but DeWine said Ohio will pass because of the pandemic.
"These mass gatherings are kind of the last things to come together and mass gatherings inside is frankly the thing that would scare us the most simply about the spread of the virus, the virus is still very much here,” DeWine said.
He may not be alone in that thought, in a conversation with News 5 last week Secretary of Health & Human Services Alex Azar was asked if he thought holding a full-on traditional convention given the state of the pandemic was even in the realm of possibility.
“It's a possibility,” Azar said. “We have to be guided by evidence and science at the time and also about what the appropriate precautions are. I don't want to get into politics but if we think about any type of large scale gatherings there's a way to do things depending on the local community circumstances at the time.
“If we have appropriate social distancing, appropriate procedures. So there are ways to do this one simply has to come up with those approaches,” he said.