Republican senators say they plan to skip party convention

Sen. Lamar Alexander R-Tenn. is one of several GOP senators not planning to attend the Republican National Convention in August

A handful of Republican senators have said they are not planning to attend the Republican national convention in Jacksonville, Florida, later this summer.

Senator Chuck Grassley, an 86-year-old Republican from Iowa, said on Monday he would sit out because of concerns about the coronavirus, which has spiked in Florida and around the country.

On the Republican side, three Republican senators, Chuck Grassley of Iowa, Lamar Alexander of Tennessee and Susan Collins of ME, said this week that they would skip the events in Jacksonville. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), the decision not to attend underscores broader concerns about holding mass gatherings in the coronavirus era.

It will be the first time in 40 years that Grassley will not attend the convention, where delegates are due to officially renominate Donald Trump as the Republican party's candidate for president ahead of the November election.

"The world is just a mess, with the crown and the economy", he told CNN.

"It really depends on the moment", the president told Greta Van Susteren of Gray Television. "We can do many things, but we are very flexible".

"Everyone attending the convention within the perimeter will be tested and temperature checked each day", Erin Isaac, communications director for the host committee, said in a memo to reporters. "The event is still nearly two months away, and we are planning to offer health precautions including but not limited to temperature checks, available PPE, aggressive sanitizing protocols, and available Covid-19 testing".

A group of Jacksonville attorneys are trying to stop the Republican National Convention from coming to their city, The Hill reports.

The mayor said it was negative for the virus.

A majority (58%) of respondents opposed organizing the convention in Jacksonville, while 42% supported it.

Trump himself has expressed eagerness to host a convention even amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Now, as pandemic cases spiral upwards in Florida and elsewhere, there are new calls to scale down the Florida event. Total cases in the state now exceed 213,000. He wants to replicate the large roaring crowds he's enjoyed at past rallies, despite warnings from health officials.

Jacksonville recently issued a mandate that people wear face masks indoors if they can't social distance.

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