The latest modification to the ever-changing Republican National Convention is one that seems to cater to the incumbent seeking re-election, and his endless war on the media: The entire four-day event will be closed to members of the press, according to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.
Conveniently blaming the novel coronavirus, which a near-endless stream of Republicans have continued to minimize, an unnamed Grand Old Party spokesperson attempted to shift responsibility for the decision to the government of North Carolina. “[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,” the email read, adding that “we are working within the parameters set before us by state and local guidelines regarding the number of people who can attend events.”
Press will also be unwelcome in “the room when the Republican National Committee meets to conduct official party business,” the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports. Unless Republicans change their plans, this rejection of the Fourth Estate from the convention is a pretty big deal. In fact, it’s the first time journalists have been barred from a Republican presidential nominating convention, ever. Donald Trump—also known as the guy getting the Republican nomination—has declared the press to be an “enemy” of the American people, and for months has minimized the dangers of the novel coronavirus. He’s also the guy who hasn’t been drawing huge adoring crowds, long considered more essential to his survival than even Big Macs. Balloons and streamers dropping on an all-but-empty arena—and caught on camera for the world to see, and share, and replay—would likely be more than Trump can take. Even before the ban on reporters, the RNC reduced the amount of delegates welcome to just 336, down from over 2,400 in 2016.
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