RNC chair McDaniel: ‘We will not be holding a virtual convention’

In this Dec. 2, 2017, photo, Republican National Committee chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel, speaks at a fundraiser at Cipriani in New York, with President Donald Trump. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said Monday that the party “will not be holding a virtual convention,” pledging that the presidential nominating convention in late August will be conducted at least partially in-person.

The coronavirus outbreak forced Democrats to move their convention from July to August, and it’s still unclear whether that event will be entirely online. On a call with reporters, McDaniel said, “It’s quite a ways away, and there’s ample time for us to adjust, if necessary.”

The RNC has hired Dr. Jeffrey Runge, a leading national health security official, as a medical adviser for the convention. Dr. Runge served as the Administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration at the United States Department of Transportation (2001 – 2005) and the Chief Medical Officer and Assistant Secretary for Health Affairs for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (2005 – 2008) and lives in North Carolina.

North Carolina Republican Party chairman Michael Whatley told North State Journal “North Carolina is ready to roll out the red carpet for Republicans from around the country, host a world-class event and nominate President Trump for four more years. The RNC has been working non-stop for over a year to run a safe and exciting convention, and we can’t wait to welcome the GOP to Charlotte.”

Whatley is also planning the state Republican Party’s convention, which had to be rescheduled from mid-May to July 9-12 in Greenville. The annual state convention is set to host speakers and elect statewide delegates to the national convention in August. He said of the change in dates, “We would like to thank the Greenville Convention Center, our host hotels and vendors for continuing to work with us as we are forced to adapt to an evolving timeline for reopening the state and allowing large events to take place.”

Over the weekend, the RNC marked a 100-day countdown to the convention.

“While convention planning has been underway for well over a year, the 100-day mark is a significant benchmark as it’s when all of our planning and preparation moves into execution mode,” said 2020 Convention President and CEO Marcia Lee Kelly. “In 100 days, the Republican Party will gather together, where we will reflect on the incredible legacy and tremendous accomplishments of the Trump Administration. During this historic event, we will celebrate American greatness, honor our nation’s resiliency, and proudly re-nominate President Donald J. Trump and Vice President Mike Pence for four more years of record-breaking results.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.