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Utah GOP leader responds to President’s convention announcement

FILE: Derek Brown speaks during the Utah Republican Party convention at the Utah Valley University UCCU Center in Orem on Saturday, May 4, 2019. He says he agrees with Pres. Trump's decision to cancel portions of the RNC Convention in Florida. (Photo: Silas Walker, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — “The timing for this event is not right. It’s just not right.”

With that, President Trump announced that portions of the Republican National Convention have been canceled. They would have been held in Jacksonville, Florida in August.

“I have to protect the American people,” the President continued.

Utah GOP Chair Derek Brown joined the Jeff Caplan Afternoon News program not long after President Trump made his announcement.  Brown said that the President made the right decision.

“He has said all along that if he can’t ensure that the people are protected and that the convention can continue in a way that is safe for everyone that’s involved that he wouldn’t do it,” Brown told guest host Maria Shilaos.

The portion of the convention that was canceled was what Brown has described as “a party for the president.”  But the business of nominating the president must continue, and that will take place next month in Charlotte, North Carolina, “with a small group of delegates that will formally nominate the president.”

The Deseret News reports that just six of Utah’s 77 Republican delegates, along with Utah Sen. Mike Lee, will attend the smaller convention in North Carolina.

The number of COVID-19 cases in Florida is responsible for the change in plans.

“The numbers are not well in Florida,” Brown said, “and [the RNC] as been mindful of that. And even though the [Utah] delegates were going to be tested before they went to Florida, and while they were there, I think a number of factors all combined to make this the right call.

“I’m glad the President did it.”

According to the Associated Press, a small group of GOP delegates will formally nominate President Trump on August 24. The majority of delegates will vote by proxy.

Related reading:

Utah GOP leaders send letter thanking President Trump