While the Republican and Democrat Conventions have had to change their usual series of events due to coronavirus concerns, President Trump is getting creative as to where he will make his nomination acceptance speech.
The Republican National Convention was originally supposed to be held in Charlotte, North Carolina. While the official meetings will still happen there, President Trump had wanted to have the usual speakers and party events to Jacksonville, Florida. After a surge in cases in the state, however, Trump canceled the Jacksonville component, and said he would possibly give the nomination speech from the White House, saying it would save taxpayer dollars and eliminate security concerns.
But after growing questions of the legality of giving a campaign speech from government property, President Trump has thrown out a new, symbolic location to give the speech from: the Battlefield of Gettysburg. In a tweet today, Trump wrote, “We have narrowed the Presidential Nomination Acceptance Speech, to be delivered on the final night of the Convention (Thursday), to two locations - The Great Battlefield of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, and the White House, Washington, D.C. We will announce the decision soon!”
White House Press Secretary defended the decision, saying, "the president has done a lot to bring this country together.” The location of Gettysburg, which was the decisive battle in the Civil War and was the location for President Lincoln’s famous Emancipation Proclamation speech, is usually used around military holidays, such as Memorial Day. The speech, therefore, will be symbolic, especially during a time of increased racial tensions. President Trump, who has said he has done more for the African American community except for President Lincoln, knows the importance of this location, and what that will do for his campaign.
Lawmakers have spoken out against the use of the White House for the acceptance speech. Senator Thune said about the option, “I assume that’s not something that you could do. I assume there’s some Hatch Act issues or something. I don’t know the answer to that and I haven’t heard him say that, but I think anything to do with federal property would seem to me to be problematic.” The Republican National Convention, which is set to occur in two weeks, is important for party unity and to help rally Republican voters in the final stretch of the campaign. Biden is set to give his nomination acceptance speech from his home state of Delaware.
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