Daily US Times: Blaming the coronavirus “flare-up”, president Donald Trump has cancelled the pre-election Republican party convention in Florida.
He said: “It’s not the right time for that,” adding that he would still give a convention speech in a different form.
It comes as the number of cases of Covid-19 in the US passed four million.
Part of the Republican convention will go ahead in North Carolina, where he will be formally nominated as the Republican presidential candidate.
The event will be held on 24 August in the city of Charlotte, the original venue for the convention, but it is shortened to half a day.
Mr Trump switched the location to Jacksonville, Florida after the Democratic governor of North Carolina insisted in May on limiting the crowd size at the convention, on the grounds of social distancing because of coronavirus pandemic.
What did the president say?
At Thursday’s White House coronavirus briefing, Mr Trump told that safety was his main concern in calling off the four-night convention.
“It’s a different world, and it will be for a little while,” Mr Trump said, adding that he “just felt it was wrong” to put potentially tens of thousands of attendees at risk.
He said: “We didn’t want to take any chances. We have to be careful and we have to set an example.”
This week, the sheriff in Jacksonville warned the city was not ready for next month’s event.
Traditionally four days long, the national nominating conventions of both Republicans and Democrats are the highlights of the internal party contests in the lead-up to the November polls.
Delegates from across the country vote for their preferred candidate in the convention. Historically these events are held in a festive-like atmosphere and attracts tens of thousands of people and
Florida is behind only California and New York in total cases. The state is crucial to the president’s re-election hopes.
Opinion polls suggest Mr Trump is facing an uphill battle for a second term in the White House amid criticism of his handling of the pandemic.
After his last remaining challenger, former Massachusetts Governor Bill Weld, dropped out in March, Donald Trump is the sole Republican candidate.
At the convention, some 2,472 delegates will vote for Mr Trump as their nominee, officially launching his re-election bid. But the number of delegates are not confirmed this year because of the pandemic. The party will also unveil its platform, or manifesto.
In normal times, thousands of journalists, lawmakers, party grandees and guests would attend the convention.