“Even before Trump completed his hostile takeover of the GOP, the future looked tenuous for a party that had grown increasingly reliant on old, white, married, rural, and non-college-educated voters, even as demographic trends seem to be shifting in an opposite direction.” Matt Lewis | The Daily Beast
According to a report from the Daily Beast, the Republican National Committee is still throwing millions of dollars at plans to hold the 2020 convention in Charlotte despite concerns about the coronavirus pandemic that could turn it from a high profile coronation of Donald Trump to an intimate affair where the president might have to accept the nomination via video.
And, as one White House insider confessed, that latter scenario is likely to infuriate the president.
As the report notes, the RNC has “transferred a whopping $6.4 million to its convention committee in April, according to records released on Wednesday. That was more than 10 times the sum that the Democratic National Committee transferred to theirs last month.”
While the Democratic National Committee is acknowledging the facts on the ground that the COVID-19 health crisis is making a convention populated by tens of thousands of people highly problematic, the RNC is dealing with a president who craves spectacle and being the center of attention — which is creating concern.
“Republicans have been less overtly cautious. RNC chair Ronna McDaniel left open the possibility of a pared-back convention during a phone call with reporters this week, The New York Times reported on Thursday,” the report states.
“President Donald Trump has been adamant that the 2020 Republican National Convention—or some version of it—go on. For months, he’s demanded that back-up options for less crowded gatherings be fully explored by his staff, if a full-blown convention isn’t ultimately possible or safe, according to three people familiar with his private insistence,” the Beast reports. “But he has scoffed at the notion of a virtual convention in recent weeks, saying that it sounds like ‘something Joe Biden would do from his basement,’ said a source who heard Trump mock the idea.”
That, as the report notes, has White House aides on edge should it be determined that the convention be scaled way back over health concerns for the attendees.
“Trump’s desire to have some sort of coronation moment fits his love of pageantry and spectacle. But various staffers working on plotting the Republican gathering aren’t quite so optimistic that it’s doable, knowing that they are entirely at the mercy of the virus and that the convention may end up even sparser than some expected, ” the report states before adding that one White House official said they want no part in having to break the news to the volatile president.
“Envisioning a scenario in which a disappointed, possibly angry Trump is informed he would have to be live streamed into his own convention, one White House official admitted, “I don’t want to be the one to tell the president.”
Taking a look at the latest fivethirtyeight poll this morning, we can see why. After enjoying the favorable bump that most presidents see when a nation faces a crisis, the honeymoon seems to be quickly over as Trump’s disapproval numbers are skyricketing in the wake of his mismanaged coronavirus response and is trending negative at a crucial time – heading into summer right before a November general election.
It will be interesting to see if some GOP members in congress begin to distance themselves from Trump this summer, seeing their own re-election chances dwindle in a growing number of swing districts.
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