Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said this week that he will not attend the 2020 Republican nominating convention because of coronavirus concerns — it’s the first time since he was elected to the Senate 40 years ago that 86-year-old Grassley will miss a convention.
In a call with reporters on Monday, Grassley said “I’m not going to go. And I’m not going to go because of the virus situation,” per the Des Moines Register.
The Republican convention is scheduled for late August and was originally to be held in North Carolina, but it was moved to Florida after the North Carolina governor told Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, “The people of North Carolina do not know what the status of COVID-19 will be in August, so planning for a scaled-down convention with fewer people, social distancing and face coverings is a necessity.”
In a tweet, Trump said that the North Carolina governor “made it absolutely impossible for the Republican Party to have its convention there.”
The Governor of North Carolina, @RoyCooperNC, made it absolutely IMPOSSIBLE for the Republican Party to have its Convention there – and we all love the State. Millions of Dollars, & JOBS, lost by State. VOTE FOR @DanForestNC!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 2, 2020
Grassley noted the governor’s position during the call with reporters, “Going to a place where the governor feels that it’s safer is probably the right thing to do if you want to have a convention. And I think we should have a convention, but I think you should do whatever you can to make it as safe as possible so that would mean with face masks and with social distancing.”
The Iowa senator has been a reliable supporter of the president in the Senate during Trump’s term, but he has also blistered with the administration at moments.
In June, he announced that he would block Trump’s judicial nominees until the administration explained the spree of firings over inspectors general; though less than two weeks later, he announced that he had lifted that blockade.
And in Washington, D.C, Grassley has a reputation of being somewhat health-conscious in the sedentary Capitol Hill atmosphere, once telling a reporter that four times each week, he runs three miles, he explained, “I just wanna get out and do something so I don’t get fat, I guess.”