Well, this didn’t take long to blow up. On Saturday the Arkansas Democrat Gazette reported that Donald Trump would receive the Republican nomination behind closed doors, where the press was banned from attendance. It was debatable whether C-Span would even be allowed to cover the event. This was stunning for two reasons: first of all, banning the press from an event of this magnitude has never been done and secondly, the fact that Trump didn’t want all the publicity he could get is unfathomable.
“[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 convention spokesperson said in an email. “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.”
We don’t know how long it took for the Republicans to cobble this plan together, but it took less than 24 hours for it to collapse. Washington Post:
Other news outlets, including the Associated Press and CNN, followed up with similar reports. If journalists are not allowed to cover the event in person, it would mark the first time in modern history that such a restriction was enacted at a national party convention.
The apparent walkback is the latest turn in a Republican National Convention planning process marked by tumult and uncertainty. […]
The formal nominating process, set to take place in Charlotte with about 300 Republican officials, is scheduled to proceed as planned.
Trump without an audience to juice him ought to really be something.
“Barring a last-minute change, this will be the first Republican presidential nominating convention in history where reporters are not admitted.” The president is both angry at coronavirus-related closures and using the cover they provide to bar press. https://t.co/oegS8Vxgm9
— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) August 1, 2020
I think that pretty much says it.
political conventions are about bringing together activists from around the country & putting on a show for reporters. As of now—after months of Trump insisting he could have a normal convention before abruptly pulling back—GOP convention will be neither.https://t.co/htpSTXN8ff
— Edward-Isaac Dovere (@IsaacDovere) August 1, 2020
There’s an expression, no audience, no show. I think it’s likely that Trump decided that without an audience, he was not going to perform, so there, and Mitt’s niece can’t make me, either. After the blow back, Trump will now have to go out there and act like a normal person and take care of the business of the party. This is going to be some show.
Let’s take a shot at predicting it:
- Trump will pretend everything is normal and brag about the crowd size;
- In the absence of a crowd, Trump will talk about how the ratings, and his hands, are much bigger than Joe Biden’s;
- The RNC will pipe in the sound of a roaring crowd to Trump’s earpiece and shake signs in the background, in an effort to induce him to behave normally;
- You thought West Point was a howler, wait until you see this performance;
- Something else, see my comment below.