A major political conference is in limbo after Houston City Council decided to cancel the event just days before it was due to start.
Democratic Mayor Sylvester Turner has prohibited the 2020 Texas State Republican Convention from proceeding at the George R. Brown Convention Center in downtown Houston.
The conference was estimated to attract about 6,000 delegates to the venue between July 16 and 18. However, the city’s decision to block the event will mean organizers are scrambling to find a new venue.
“I instructed the Houston First Corporation to exercise its right contractually in canceling the state’s Republican Convention that was set to take place next week,” Turner said on Twitter.
The Democrat claimed the decision was due to the worsening CCP (Chinese Communist Party) Virus pandemic, which has infected more than 229,600 Texans and killed 2,900 across the Lone Star State according to the Worldometer website.
“We need to do everything we can to mitigate this virus right now,” he said on Twitter. “We need to do everything we can to combat COVID-19 [CCP Virus]. Let us do everything we can to control the blazing fire we are battling.”
However, the mayor will not take similar action to stop extreme “anarchist” protests that have swept across the nation since the death-in-custody of Minnesotan George Floyd on May 25.
“It is one thing to be talking about an indoor convention where people are in close proximity with each other for a substantial amount of time rather than walking outside in a protest,” he said on Twitter. “When people are marching and protesting, no one is making lunch/dinner, [and] cleaning up behind them.”
Democratic North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper similarly cited strict social distancing measures as his reason not to allow the 2020 Republican National Convention (RNC) to be held in Charlotte on Aug. 24 to 27.
“We have been committed to a safe RNC convention in North Carolina, and it is unfortunate they never agreed to scale down and make changes to keep people safe,” he said on Twitter. “Protecting public health and safety during this pandemic is a priority.”
The move was harshly criticized by the Oval Office, which slammed the governor for promising to allow the event to proceed but later changing his mind. Organizers had invested significant time and money preparing for the event that may not go ahead.
“Spend millions of dollars, have everybody arrive, and then tell them they will not be able to gain entry,” President Donald Trump said on Twitter. “Gov. Cooper is still in shelter-in-place mode and not allowing us to occupy the arena, as originally anticipated and promised.”