Plans to hold the Republican National Convention in North Carolina, a key swing state, are now a smoking pile of ashes after President Arty McDeals — once again — set fire to a Republican project with his batshit Twitter feed. Because actually wandering into the room while your agents are attempting to hammer out the provisions of a deal and shouting WE SHOOT THE HOSTAGE IF YOU DON'T GIVE US 100 PERCENT OF WHAT WE WANT is ... kind of a crap negotiating tactic. Go know!

Every organization holding events in North Carolina, from NASCAR to the Carolina Panthers, has been required to submit a COVID plan, and CNN reports that the RNC's convention team had been diligently negotiating with Governor Roy Cooper's office and officials in Charlotte for a safe convention during the coronavirus pandemic. On a cordial May 26 phone call, the parties discussed multiple contingencies "from a full in-person convention to a virtual or online convention" with no deadline for a final deal.

But then ...

Burn it all down! Demanding to be "immediately given an answer by the Governor as to whether or not the space will be allowed to be fully occupied," Trump threatened to dump two years' worth of planning if the state of North Carolina wouldn't guarantee to waive all health and safety regulations during a viral pandemic. Because if Donald Trump can't jam 50,000 screaming, maskless MAGA loons from every state in the union into a packed hall to spit in each other's faces, then he's taking his spray of droplets and going home.

"Sadly, now there can be but one outcome," as David Attenborough might say while observing a starving rodent sink its incisors into the neck of the first of its blind babies. The Gippers knew then that the mad king was going to destroy millions of dollars and years of planning in a fit of pique, and there wasn't a damn thing they could do to stop it. The best they could do was try to shift the blame onto Roy Cooper, a Democrat up for re-election this year. (Although pollsters appear to have given up on the race in early May after five consecutive polls showed him 14 points or more ahead of his Republican challenger.)

Luckily, RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel long ago surrendered her integrity along with her maiden name, so she was well-prepared to spew shit.

"When the Republican National Committee contracted to come to Charlotte to host the 2020 national convention it was for a full convention," McDaniel wrote to Roy Cooper in a May 30 letter. "A full convention entailed 19,000 delegates, alternate delegates, staff, volunteers, elected officials and guests inside the Spectrum Center. In order to house and feed them, we need full hotels and restaurants and bars at capacity."

Why won't Roy Cooper guarantee eight weeks in advance that a deadly virus will have disappeared, that's what Ronna McDaniels wants to know!

Touting her organization's plans to offer daily temperature checks, "testing before and during the convention," although she didn't say how that would be accomplished during a nationwide testing shortage, and masks to those who want them, she demanded that Cooper agree by June 3 (that's today!) to let the RNC come and cough all over his residents, OR ELSE.

At which point, Cooper reminded Ronna that it isn't the state's job to plan the convention for the RNC or to act as guarantor that the festivities can continue unaffected by a raging public health crisis that has claimed lives of 108,000 Americans.

"The people of North Carolina do not know what the status of COVID-19 will be in August, so planning for a scaled-down convention with fewer people, social distancing and face coverings is a necessity," he wrote in a June 2 letter, reminding McDaniel that her plans don't even comply with published CDC guidelines. "We are happy to continue talking to you about what a scaled down convention would look like and we still await your proposed plan for that. We still await your answers to the questions posed by our state Health and Human Services Secretary, specifically regarding social distancing and face coverings."

"Neither public health officials nor I will risk the health and safety of North Carolinians by providing the guarantee you seek," Cooper concluded, knowing that the pooch was already screwed.

In point of fact, North Carolina is in Phase II of its coronavirus recovery, with indoor gatherings of up to 10 people allowed. The RNC itself and Trump's own chief of staff Mark Meadows had been engaged in good faith negotiations to hold a safe, modified convention until that lunatic blew everything up by refusing to commit to basic public health guidelines to prevent his convention becoming a superspreader event.

So now the RNC is left scrambling, as the various Republican governors vie to host the GOP's Bareback Sneeze Off Spitswappin' Jamboree. Mazal tov, Ronna. You've knocked it out of the park again!

[CNN / Charlotte Observer]

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Liz Dye

Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.


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