Texas Gov. Greg Abbott will not be attending the Republican National Convention later this month as he deals with the surge of coronavirus cases in his state.
Abbott, a Republican, has instead designated Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick to head to the pared-down convention in North Carolina and chair the Lone Star State’s delegation.
Abbott informed Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel that he won’t be attending the nominating convention in a letter late last week.
DEMOCRATS URGE PARTY MEMBERS IN CONGRESS NOT TO ATTEND CONVENTION IN PERSON
“It was an honor being selected to serve as chair of the Texas delegation for the 2020 Republican National Convention,” Abbott said. “However, as we deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, my top priority remains focused on protecting the health and safety of Texans.”
As of Monday, Texas had more than 453,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with 7,515 deaths, although the state could not update its total count due to a system upgrade used to process lab results.
The news about Abbott’s absence comes just weeks after President Trump announced a scaled-back convention.
Trump announced in late July that he was canceling celebratory events that were scheduled to take place next month in Jacksonville, Fla.
“The timing for this event is not right, it’s just not right,” Trump said during a press briefing at the White House. “To have a big convention, it’s just not the right time.”
Trump added: “There is nothing more important in our country than keeping our people safe.”
The RNC in June chose Jacksonville to host major portions of the convention, after largely abandoning the city of Charlotte, N.C., over disagreements on coronavirus-related crowd restrictions.
The president and Republican officials were angered after Gov. Roy Cooper of North Carolina, a Democrat, said that because of the pandemic he wasn’t prepared to guarantee the RNC a full-fledged convention with an arena packed full of party officials, delegates and activists as desired by Trump.
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While the Jacksonville portion of the convention has been canceled, Trump said that delegates will still meet in North Carolina and that he will give an address when he accepts the nomination.
The Democrats have also dramatically downscaled their convention.
The Democratic National Convention, which was pushed back a month and is scheduled to start on Aug. 17, is still being held in Milwaukee.
But the Democratic National Committee (DNC) announced last month that their confab will be conducted mostly online – with delegates and Democratic members of Congress taking part in the convention virtually rather than in-person.
Fox News’ Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.