The press will not be able to attend the Republican National Convention in person later this month, and only a fraction of delegates will be there to vote to formally nominate President Donald Trump due to social distancing measures, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette first reported.
The convention is scheduled to run from August 21 to August 24, and will be far more sparsely attended than in previous years, media outlets reported Saturday.
Coronavirus fears have plagued the GOP’s efforts to hold the convention, which normally boasts thousands of attendees. Trump has already called off plans to hold a convention speech in Jacksonville, Florida, after the city became a COVID-19 hotspot.
“Given the health restrictions and limitations in place within the state of North Carolina, we are planning for the Charlotte activities to be closed press” for the duration of the weekend,” an RNC convention spokesperson told CNN in a statement. “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,”
The network dubbed the move “unprecedented in modern American political history.” According to the Associated Press, it will be the first time in modern history reporters have been prevented from attending a party nominating convention.
Not only will the events be closed to press, but CNN reported that just roughly one-sixth of the delegates will attend for the vote — just 336 out of the 2,550 total.
The network also reported that the nomination vote will be livestreamed.
The president of the White House Correspondents’ Association, Zeke Miller, condemned the decision to bar press from the event in a tweet Saturday evening.
“This is an ill-advised decision that the @GOP @GOPconvention should reconsider. The nomination of a major party presidential candidate is very much the business of the American people,” Miller said.