The Republican National Convention is changing their plans again. According to a story first reported by Arkansas Democrat Gazette, Party and Convention officials are saying that the nominating convention set for Charlotte, North Carolina will be shutting its doors to reporters for the duration of the event. Republicans say that they were forced to make this unprecedented decision due to social distancing restrictions imposed by the North Carolina governor.
“[W]e are planning for all of the Charlotte activities to be closed press: Friday, August 21 – Monday, 24th given the health restrictions and limitations in place in the state,” said a convention spokesperson in an email. “We are happy to let you know if this changes, but we are working within the parameters set before us by state and local guidelines regarding the number of people who can attend events.”
A Republican official also told CNN that, “Reporters will not be allowed on site as RNC delegates vote to formally nominate President Donald Trump as the 2020 Republican presidential nominee.”
New York Times White House Correspondent Maggie Habberman responded to the Arkansas Democrat Gazette story on Twitter, pointing out that it was still “unclear if the convention business portion will be open press or closed.”
The following day RNC Communications Director Michael Ahrens clarified that there has been “no final decision,” and that they are “still working through logistics and press coverage options.”
“[A] livestream is part of the press coverage options we are working through,” Ahrens added.
This most recent change comes after Trump scrapped plans to hold the Convention in Jacksonville, Florida citing concerns about the coronavirus.
Zeke Miller, President of the White House Correspondents Association and an Associated Press reporter, called the restriction of journalists “an ill-advised decision” on Twitter.
“The nomination of a major party presidential candidate is very much the business of the American people,” Miller pointed out.