Charlotte council narrowly backs hosting 2020 Republican convention

The Charlotte City Council on Monday narrowly voted to approve preliminary contracts needed to host the 2020 Republican National Convention after a long and testy public meeting where more than 100 activists testified. The vote came just days before the Republican National Committee meets in Austin, Texas, where the site selection committee is expected to choose a location for what is expected to be President TrumpDonald John TrumpSenate advances public lands bill in late-night vote Warren, Democrats urge Trump to back down from veto threat over changing Confederate-named bases Esper orders ‘After Action Review’ of National Guard’s role in protests MORE’s renomination. ADVERTISEMENTCharlotte is one of only two cities mounting a bid, along with Las Vegas, and the only city where local government leaders have expressed an interest in hosting the convention. The Las Vegas bid is being mounted by local party leaders, without the support of the city’s convention and visitor’s bureau, which has cited conflicts with other events already on the books for July 2020. Ten of the 11 Charlotte City Council members indicated earlier this year they would support Mayor Vi Lyles (D), who wanted to pursue the Republican convention. But mounting public pressure and opposition to Trump from some Charlotte residents had put the bid in peril. In the end, the Charlotte City Council voted to approve the necessary preliminary contracts, 6 to 5. Four Democrats joined two Republicans in backing the bid. Five other Democrats voted against hosting the convention. “I don’t support this president. I just don’t,” Councilwoman Julie Eiselt said. “I’m supporting this because back in March, 10 of the 11 of us sitting here told the mayor to move forward with this bid.” Tariq Bokhari, one of only two Republicans on the City Council, said hosting the convention would put Charlotte in the global spotlight. “We want to be a world-class city,” Bokhari said. “This is what being tolerant and inclusive means.” Opponents focused on Trump and the inevitable protests his renomination will draw.  “Trump values are not Charlotte values,” said Dimple Tansen Ajmera, one of the Democratic council members who voted no. “If we are able to pull this off successfully, Charlotte’s brand will be known for hosting one of the most toxic conventions in history.” More than 100 Charlotte residents and activists spoke for or against hosting the convention in the city. Opponents brought up Trump’s policies on immigrants detained at the border, his comments normalizing white supremacist protestors in Charlottesville, Va., and the risk to public safety. Proponents, including taxi and hotel owners, cited the potential economic stimulus such an influx of delegates, media and Republican supporters would bring to the city. Council members questioned Charlotte’s city attorney and city managers about costs that might fall on taxpayers and about preparations to handle demonstrators who would convene from around the country to protest Trump’s candidacy.  Charlotte city attorney Robert Hagemann said the city had written its contract to shield taxpayers from incurring costs that go beyond the $50 million the city expects from federal funds to pay for security and associated expenses.  He also said the last time the city held a convention, when President Obama was renominated in 2012, Charlotte police had handled protestors well. “We had a lot of experience with the First Amendment in 2012,” Hagemann said. Though Lyles has been the driving force behind bringing the convention to Charlotte, she said she would not offer a customary address welcoming delegates to her city if Charlotte wins.  Republicans had struggled to find a city willing to host Trump’s renomination in 2020, as cities like San Antonio, Nashville and Philadelphia dropped their proposed bids earlier this year. Some cited conflicting events already on the books for the proposed week of the convention, while others more openly rejected hosting Trump.  Democrats have yet to decide where they will formally nominate their presidential candidate in 2020, though the party has narrowed the field to three potential host cities: Houston, Miami Beach and Milwaukee.  Click Here: All Blacks Rugby Jersey

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