In a season when graduations, weddings, funerals, tournaments have been canceled or moved to the small screen, suddenly it’s OK to pack upward of 20,000 Americans into one space where they will shout, sing, hug, dance a jig and, inevitably, spread coronavirus to each other and our fellow Tar Heels. Or return home with a nasty little souvenir.

It is as though a cast of thousands was hired to dramatize how a pandemic thrives, as if everything we have been told to avoid has been sanctioned.

Of course this long-planned gathering — the Republican National Convention — will blanket businesses with desperately needed cash. As I understand it, some meetings which comply with restrictions may still take place in Charlotte, but the Big Party where the emperor struts his new clothes will not contaminate our state, thanks to Gov. Roy Cooper.

Way to go, Gov!

The first question is why organizers have suddenly gone virus-blind. Actually, not suddenly, since the convention has been planned for a year or more, which means that downplaying its severity (109,000 deaths … could have been worse, he says) to reopen the economy had this in mind. Americans watched incredulously as their commander-in-chief strutted around without a face mask. Social distancing became a sometimes thing, a nuisance really, even as the virus spread to White House staffers who hang up his $5,000 Brioni suits and fetch his Big Macs.

No surprise that a study published in USA Today found 94 percent of Democrats expressing concern over the spread of coronavirus in the U.S. compared to 76 percent of Republicans.

The reason seems as transparent as the plexiglass shield surrounding supermarket cashiers. The emperor thrives on adulation doused with confetti and balloons. Dancing girls, too, if allowed. If not, something resembling the Super Bowl half-time show. Or an old-fashioned Ringling Bros. three-ring circus, with the same whip-wielding ringmaster triplicated.

Maybe this will make up for the Soviet-style military parade he didn’t get.

Still, the hubris of assuming adoring multitudes rubbing elbows at the Spectrum would be OK boggles the mind. Have organizers not computed comparisons to its Democratic counterpart: perhaps part virtual, conforming to virus abatement guidelines, already postponed from mid-July to mid-August?

How does the Republican hierarchy justify this? From the beginning, Rose Garden rhetoric has proven twisted, exaggerated or false, based on the pandemic being a hoax; sputtering over, then quashing the medical professionals, outsourcing the blame, even promoting ineffective if not dangerous treatments.

Remember the one about ingesting/injecting disinfectants?

Well, thank goodness their TV pitchman will be packing up his Lysol and hauling it to Nashville or New Orleans or some state with a governor willing to risk lives for primetime coverage. Las Vegas has been mentioned.

Yes! Do it in Las Vegas with dancing girls to guarantee the ratings.

Gov. Cooper didn’t slam the door; he just wants scaled down attendance, social distancing, face coverings. The president and his forward phalanx demand a “full convention” defined as 19,000 delegates, staff, etc. etc. breathing the same air (shudder), using the same restrooms, traveling in the same buses.

On June 2, the petulant president said the ego show must go on. I cannot imagine Reagan, Bush and Bush, McCain, Romney or other prominent party standard-bearers pulling such a hissy fit.

Gov. Cooper stood his ground. “Neither public health officials nor I will risk the health and safety of North Carolinians by providing the guarantees you seek.”

Gov. Cooper is seconded by Dr. Irwin Redlener, director of the National Center for Disease Preparedness: “It is unreasonably optimistic to think that a traditional presidential convention can happen the summer of 2020,” Redlener told The New York Times. “Gathering large numbers of people together is counter to every reasonable public health guideline during the pandemic.”

Guess he’ll be banished to scientific Siberia, along with Dr. Fauci, America’s beloved voice of reason.

But wait — a new development. Convention organizers are toying with a caravan convention, whereby delegates would travel to several cities for the big-top events. That’s right, go forth, spread the love along with the virus.

During this month of profound sorrow over racial injustice, when the phrase Black Lives Matter inspires righteous protests, for ignoring life-saving precautions, Mr. President needs this reminder, offered with respect for its origin:

Republican lives are at stake.

Contact Deborah Salomon at

(17) comments

Peyton Cook

Ether party holding their convention in Charlotte would be an economic boon. I don’t believe the city leaders would turn down the full convention. Some of the convention activities will still be held there.

Keith Miller

Ms Salomon...did you really come up with the title to your column ?!?

Deborah Salomon

Yes, I did. Isn't it great?

Keith Miller

Not really...maybe it should be titled..."Way to Gov... You Kicked An Estimated $150,000,000 Off Our Mecklenburg County (Court)...Sorry Local Restaurants, Bars, Hotels, and Other Local Businesses Who Are Still Reeling From Covid-19...That Were Counting On The 'Court' Being Full...So Maybe, Just Maybe, They Could Have Made Up Their Lost Revenues, And Hopefully Be Able To Keep Their Business Doors Open From The Profits...Nope because the Gov Knows best" !!! Once again...Way To Gov !!!

Walter B Bull

The real issue in the article by our resident theater critic is its unfocused story line, factual inaccuracies, lack of conclusions and minding someone else's business like a nosy neighbor who comments on all her neighbor's personal lives. Cooper's leadership is halting and emotional and the losers were the businesses of Charlotte who could have used convention goer's spending after the unfortunate lock-down. The author should stick to flowers and recipes. WBBJr

Deborah Salomon

Thanks for reminding me, Mr. Bull. I make brownies on Friday.

Stay safe.....your nosy neighbor.

Kent Misegades

Charlotte, not exactly a bastion of Conservatives, was an odd choice from the start. I don’t see the point of either convention: President Trump is the GOP’s only candidate and Sleepy Joe doesn’t stand a chance. Just skip both and save money. In fact, why not just proclaim Trump the winner now and spare us all the hoopla and the usual Tomfoolery from the Democrats?

Jim Tomashoff

Why should we not be surprised that our resident authoritarian wants to cancel the election and "...just proclaim Trump the winner..." Don't we all think that Kent would be better off in North Korea, after all Trump's best buddy (well, maybe just a notice below Putin in Trump's estimation) wins elections there every time.

Peyton Cook

Why doesn’t Governor allow the Charlotte leaders to make the decision?

Jim Tomashoff

Peyton, what a great idea! I wonder how the Mayor of Charlotte, a Democrat, and the 2 Republicans and 9 Democrats on Charlotte's City Council will vote to withdraw the City's invitation to hold the Convention there?

Mark Hayes

Peyton, I have to agree with Jim, I could never understand why Charlotte was chosen by Republicans to begin with. Statistic reveal that it is one of the most " unsafe " cities in North Carolina, crime rate is up, gangs are running the streets in some areas, and with the current state of racial tensions, well it will be just another night of broken glass, and that is not fair to the Charlotte shop owners impacted. The fact is, the demographics do not favor Republican presence, it was a bad choice from the get go. I don't see what purpose for holding a Republican convention, voters already know who they will be voting for, or not. Now Democrats on the other hand will be almost forced to carry out with one, because Sanders supporters will want to speak their mind, they will want their voices heard, and as they should be, Bernie was doing pretty good again, yet once again, he was derailed by the same organization that threw him under the bus last time he ran. The entertainment will come when Trump and Biden meet center stage. promises made, gaffes resurfacing, misinformation, false predictions and possibly a toughest man contest, a push up contest, not a TV fan, but this is one event I will not miss.

Joyce White

Thank you, Gov. Cooper, for utilizing logic, reason and common sense. It’s foolish and dangerous to flout health rules in service of a political agenda. The outcome of large mask-free, crowded gatherings will be the ultimate test.

Pauline Smith

I also have not understood why it was decided to hold the convention there. It's a Democratic-run city and a sanctuary place for undocumented.

Sally Larson

Yes, the convention is all ego-driven with no concern for the public. As long as he can get on a stage and rant and rave while being cheered by his followers he will think he will win.

NC already has virus spikes from Memorial Day Celebrations, there's obviously going to be another huge one around the country after all the protesting and he wants to lead his followers to their endangerment so he can gloat with total disregard for their health.


Frank Staples

Sally, what an extremely silly comment...just where do you think ole gropey joe is going to hold his convention? Ya reckon he's going to cancel it and televise his show from his basement? Ya reckon ole gropey give a hoot in hades about his constituents wearing masks or separating themselves? Could be, but I doubt it...he's probably confused about what the corona is anyway!

Sally Larson

Honestly Frank, that's a bit pathetic.

Jim Tomashoff

"Honestly" is not a word usually associated with any of Frank's comments.

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