RALEIGH, N.C. – RALEIGH, N.C.Republican lawmakers in North Carolina are planning to vote this week on a measure that would allow President Donald Trump to speak in front of a packed Republican National Convention without some of the restrictions officials have required elsewhere to stop the coronavirus.
The first vote, which could be held as early as Tuesday, will largely be a symbolic one, given the measure will almost assuredly be rejected by Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper and Republicans will be unlikely to have the votes to override his veto.
During a Monday news conference, the governor called the proposal “irresponsible” and suggested state lawmakers do not have a role in the decision-making process.
“What we need to do is continue our conversations with the RNC," Cooper said, referring to the Republican National Committee, which runs the convention.
A draft of the bill, authored by Republican State Rep. John Torbett of Gaston and circulated last week by North Carolina Republican Party chairman Michael Whatley, calls for convention events in Charlotte to be held at full capacity, just as Trump had demanded from Cooper.
Cooper refused, saying the convention in August would have to be scaled down to protect public health. In response, Trump announced plans to hold his speech elsewhere.
The bill would require attendees to complete both pre-attendance and daily health surveys and have their temperatures taken prior to entry. But it would not require face masks or 6 feet (1.8 meters) feet of physical distancing.
“If they choose to gather in close proximity without any protection, they have the option to do that under their own personal responsibility," said Torbett, who added that restrictions could be added or reduced at a later date.