Charlotte lawmakers re-think hosting RNC 2020 convention

Lawmakers in North Carolina are having second thoughts about the RNC holding its 2020 nominating convention in the city of Charlotte. The Charlotte City Council briefly discussed the possibility of backing out of the city’s agreement to host the convention Monday shortly before voting to strongly condemn President Trump over his comments against the Squad.

Mayor Vi Lyles intends to continue exploring whatever options may be available, according to a spokesman. The city council’s resolution condemned President Trump’s remarks about the four female freshmen congresswomen as “racist and xenophobic”. The council also condemned the “send her back” chants coming from the audience at the Trump rally in Greenville, North Carolina recently. All nine Democrats on the city council voted in favor of the resolution while the two Republicans on the city council voted against it. That sounds right in today’s bitterly divided political atmosphere, doesn’t it?

Charlotte City Attorney Patrick Baker threw some cold water on the idea to cancel the agreement with the RNC. He said a breach of contract would have to happen before such action could be taken. Backing out of the agreement, without a breach of contract, would result in financial penalties and lawsuits, he warned.

Some citizens, speaking at the council meeting, urged city leaders to rescind the invitation to host the convention

City Attorney Patrick Baker – who looked into such options in recent days at the behest of some council members – reported that there was no legal option for Charlotte to back out of the deal.

Baker noted that there would be a pathway for the city to exit the agreement if there was a breach of contract by one of the partners in the deal – but added that to date, there’s been no evidence of that happening.

Organizations included in the agreement are the Republican National Committee, the Charlotte 2020 Host Committee, the Mecklenburg County Regional Visitors Authority, and the city of Charlotte. The agreement was made last year after of vote of 6-5 in favor of doing so. President Trump’s recent remarks prompted the Charlotte City Council’s resolution but it also included a reach-back to Trump’s comments after the Charlottesville tiki-torch march.

The resolution says, “Charlotte should always be welcoming and inviting of people of diverse and different ethnicities and background” and it “strongly condemns all of President Donald Trump’s racist and xenophobic tweets and comments.”

It also criticizes the president saying white supremacists in Charlottesville are “very fine people.”

“President Trump has normalized dangerous rhetoric,” said at-large council member Dimple Ajmera. “This (resolution) sends a strong message that this kind of behavior won’t be tolerated in our city.”

Both of the Republicans clarified their votes. One noted that while he doesn’t agree with the president all of the time, he does support Trump’s policies. The other affirmed his opposition to “hate speech” but doesn’t think it is the city council’s job to condemn language.

The editorial board of the Charlotte Observer pointed to the obvious objections to backing out of the convention at this late date. Everyone knew President Trump when the agreement was made and his manner of speaking is nothing new. On the technicalities alone, the city would lose the battle in court – Trump isn’t a part of the agreement himself.

It’s a tempting notion, especially after the “send her back” chant at Donald Trump’s Greenville rally last week offered Charlotte a disturbing preview of what we’re welcoming next fall. But what would happen if the City Council decided to say “no thanks” to the convention? What would come next if Charlotte simply left its keys on the counter and tried to walk out on this deal?

First, Republicans would very likely and very quickly sue. They would not be interested in damages, at least not at first, but for a judge to provide injunctive relief and make Charlotte live up to its part of the RNC 2020 contract.

Also very likely: That judge would not be sympathetic to Charlotte’s case, for at least two reasons. First, city leaders knew who Donald Trump and his supporters were long before they agreed to invite everyone to Charlotte. But also, as City Attorney Patrick Baker noted Monday: Trump is not a party in the convention contract. The RNC and RNC host committee are, and to this point neither has done anything to breach the contract.

Don’t look for a change of venue for the RNC convention. This is all about Democrats posturing for the 2020 elections, even at the local level. They will take every possible opportunity to condemn the bad Orange Man. Democrats have little else in their toolbox to get out the base on election day.