The long reach of the Coronavirus outbreak derailed the plans of President Donald Trump to move most of the Republican National Convention to Jacksonville, Florida next month, as the President on Thursday announced that he was canceling the second part of the GOP gathering because of the virus threat.
"The timing for this event is not right, just not right with what's happening recently, the flare up in Florida," the President told reporters in the White House Briefing Room.
"We won't do a big, crowded convention," the President said. "It's just not the right time for that."
The decision by Mr. Trump came on a third straight day of over 1,000 reported virus deaths in the U.S., the first time that has happened since the week of Memorial Day.
Florida reported 173 deaths on Thursday - a new single day record for the state - which has been averaging over 10,000 new Coronavirus cases each day for the past week, up dramatically from June.
“President Trump has always put the safety and well-being of Americans first. This was his call to make - and he made the right one,” said Rep. John Rutherford (R-FL).
Jacksonville was chosen as a backup to Charlotte, North Carolina, after the Democratic Governor of the Tar Heel State refused to weaken Coronavirus restrictions for the GOP gathering, prompting the President to pick Florida for the convention finale.
But those plans were increasingly imperiled in recent days, as Florida became one of the big hot spots nationwide for the Coronavirus.
The announcement came on a third consecutive day of evening news conferences by the President, focusing on the Coronavirus.
“Nothing more important in our country than keeping our people safe,” Mr. Trump said before cameras.
It wasn’t immediately clear where the President would give his acceptance speech for the GOP nomination.
Republicans will still being their convention in Charlotte in the last week in August - but Mr. Trump did not indicate how it would conclude.
It was yet another setback for the President, who has struggled to bypass the virus and get back out on the campaign trail.
His only rally in the last four months was an underwhelming gathering in Tulsa, Oklahoma, which attracted only 6,200 people at an indoor arena.
Plans for an outdoor rally in New Hampshire earlier this month were scrapped because of weather concerns, but no plans have been announced for a re-scheduling of that event, leading some to believe attendance was also going to be small.
At this point, the President has no rallies on his schedule, a reminder of how dramatic the impact of the Coronavirus has been on the elections in 2020.
Democrats have drastically slimmed down their convention in Milwaukee. Delegates will not attend, as former Vice President Joe Biden will address a small crowd on the final Thursday night.