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GOP declines Turner’s invitation to cancel their convention

The ball is back in your court, Mr. Mayor.

The Texas Republican Party is proceeding with an in-person convention next week in downtown Houston, a rejection of Mayor Sylvester Turner’s formal request Monday to move the event online amid a local escalation of the COVID-19 pandemic.

James Dickey, chairman of the Texas GOP, in a statement Tuesday said the party has been “proactive in implementing safety measures” and had “extensive conversations” with Houston First, the public nonprofit that serves as the city’s convention arm and operates the George R. Brown Convention Center. The convention is set to take place there from July 16 to 18.

“With these precautions currently in place, the Republican Party of Texas intends to proceed with an in-person convention next week in Houston,” Dickey said.

The chairman also responded to the list of conditions Turner, a Democrat, said the GOP would need to follow if it holds the convention. Those guidelines include denying entry to anyone who has tested positive for COVID or come in contact with a COVID patient between July 2 and July 15, requiring attendees to wear masks, and providing touchless hand sanitizing stations throughout the convention center.

“Mayor Turner must not have had the information about the measures being voluntarily implemented,” Dickey said. “The Republican Party, delegates, and guests are looking forward to a safe and productive Convention next week.”

Turner said he was “incredulous” that the GOP is moving ahead with an in-person convention, and reiterated that health department officials would shut down the event if they find people are not following COVID-19 guidelines.

See here for the background. For what it’s worth, the Greater Houston Partnership has also implored the GOP to cancel the in person convention.

The Greater Houston Partnership has called on the Texas GOP, along with state and local officials, to cancel the in-person Texas Republican Convention in downtown Houston next week.

Citing the health and safety of event-goers, staff and volunteers, the group of Houston business leaders said an indoor event as large as the convention — which is expected to draw thousands of people — would be unsafe.

In a letter sent Tuesday afternoon to Gov. Greg Abbott, Mayor Sylvester Turner, Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo, and state GOP Chairman James Dickey, the GHP asked “those with the authority to cancel” the event to do so.

“In normal times we would welcome an event that was expected to draw some 6,000 delegates from across Texas to the George R. Brown Convention Center,” the letter read. “Unfortunately, these are not normal times.”

You can click over to see their letter. Of course, the modern Republican Party of Texas doesn’t really represent business interests any more (see: the bathroom bill, for one), so I would not expect this to have any effect. But at least you know, it’s more than just Mayor Turner versus the state GOP.

The one person who could (maybe) put an end to this is Greg Abbott, but I think we all know that ain’t gonna happen. So for now we have this game of chicken, and we hope there’s no significant collateral damage. And if it does come down to the city health department, well, there’s this:

Those “face mask legal exemption” cards are complete BS, in case you were wondering. Not that anyone who has printed out one of those cards for themselves will believe that, of course. If there’s a better definition of “shit show” right now, I don’t want to know what it is.

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11 Comments

  1. David Fagan says:

    This is all a bunch of bs. Houston First can give them their deposit or money back, shut the doors and be done with it.

  2. Ross says:

    You know that how? Have you read the contract?

  3. David Fagan says:

    Good point, well there must be several options if the contract exists, which we can agree that it does.

    If Houston First cancels the contract only,
    If the Texas GOP cancels the contract only,
    If Houston First and Texas GOP agree to cancel the contract and negotiate terms.

    What are the penalties of Houston First canceling the contract? I do not know.

    CAN Houston First cancel the contract? There must be a provision, or some Attorney assistant’s head is going to roll.
    I feel sorry for that Attorney Assistant.

    I do not accept a message that Houston First and The Greater Houston Partnership are helpless while the Mayor of Houston takes his own power away to make himself helpless in the name of public health. If public health is the important thing, then shut it down without the political grandstanding on both sides. It’s enough to turn a person into an independent and reinforce the reasons why people are independents.

  4. brad says:

    Being independent is enough reason to turn into an independent.

  5. Bob says:

    Let them have their damn convention here and then lose every race in the state.

  6. Flypusher says:

    And Turner has cancelled it. Good. Let the GOP show some Flexibility and civic responsibility, and do a virtual convention, rather than whine and sue.

    Of course Dickey is already whining.

  7. Wolfgang says:

    DEUS EX MACHINA: EPIDEMIC AS AN ACT OF GOD
    (force majeure for non-believers and believing non-God-blamers)

  8. […] here and here for the background, and here for the announcement on Twitter. Before anyone gets their Hot Take […]

  9. Bill Daniels says:

    The Republicans should just hold the convention outdoors, right in front of City Hall. That way, they won’t need a permit, won’t need to pay anything for the convention center, and won’t need to observe any ‘social distancing’ or ‘mask’ requirements. They need to hold their convention in the protest format.

    Think of it as a ‘Summer of Love’ redux. That way there’s no worries about Wu flu spread.

  10. brad says:

    Bill,

    Not quite sure I can visualize the GOP lemmings sweating their nutz off or putting up with wilting hairsprayed beehives in downtown Houston on a mid-summers day.

    They are more of a sit in their lazy-boz chair screaming at the Fox TV show watching types aren’t they?

    But, if you wish to host an outside party at City Hall, I say go to town. Please make sure to wear your “Murica”, “MAGA” of “Freedumb” hat to get a little shade.

  11. […] be following suit in the near future. It’s also a reminder that maybe college football and in person political conventions aren’t such a hot idea, either. Just a thought. The DMN has […]