President Donald Trump demanded Monday that North Carolina's Democratic governor sign off "immediately" on allowing the Republican National Convention to move forward in August with full attendance despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Republicans planning to attend the convention "must be immediately given an answer by the governor as to whether or not the space will be allowed to be fully occupied", the president said, otherwise another site would be selected.
The RNC was originally expected to bring around 20,000 in-seat participants and around 50,000 visitors to Charlotte, most of whom will be congregating in Uptown, with the largest events and gatherings scheduled for Spectrum Center and the Charlotte Convention Center.
In the interview, Pence named Texas, Florida and Georgia as states that have made "tremendous progress" in reopening.
Roy Cooper's administration continues rolling out phases of a plan to reopen North Carolina, the World Health Organization warned of a "second peak" in areas where safety protocols are being rolled back.
"State health officials are working with the [Republican National Committee] and will review its plans as they make decisions about how to hold the convention in Charlotte", Cooper spokeswoman Dory MacMillan said.
"We all want to be in Charlotte, we love North Carolina, but having a sense now is absolutely essential because of the enormous preparations that are involved", he said.
Trump added in his morning tweets: "Plans are being made by many thousands of enthusiastic Republicans, and others, to head to handsome North Carolina in August".
The convention is scheduled to open the week of August 24 in Charlotte, N.C., and Pence said decisions must be made now because of the preparations necessary in pulling together a convention, and, "moving the national convention to a state that is further along on reopening and can say with confidence we can gather there".
In March, Cooper issued an executive order banning gatherings of more than 100 people.
In North Carolina, there are more than 22,700 confirmed cases and almost 750 coronavirus-related deaths. He did not refer to a traditional in-person convention as a certainty, but rather noted that "we're several months away from the possibility of the RNC". Pence called on Cooper to provide a "swift response".
Cooper narrowly beat an incumbent Republican in 2016 while Trump won the state.