Texas GOP votes to hold 6,000+ in-person convention in state’s COVID-19 hotspot

On Thursday night, the Texas Republican Party voted to crowd 6,000 people into its state convention from July 16 to 18. The vote came on the same day that Texas reported nearly 8,000 newly confirmed cases of COVID-19, its second highest-ever daily toll of new cases.

The convention will be hosted at the George R. Brown Convention Center in downtown Houston. Houston sits within Harris County, the Texas county that has the highest number of overall coronavirus cases. The Texas Medical Association and the Texas Brewers Guild have both withdrawn their support as sponsors as a result of the decision to hold a convention in-person rather than virtually.

On Thursday night, the Texas Republican Party voted to crowd 6,000 people into its state convention from July 16 to 18. The vote came on the same day that Texas reported nearly 8,000 newly confirmed cases of COVID-19, its second highest-ever daily toll of new cases.

The convention will be hosted at the George R. Brown Convention Center in downtown Houston. Houston sits within Harris County, the Texas county that has the highest number of overall coronavirus cases. The Texas Medical Association and the Texas Brewers Guild have both withdrawn their support as sponsors as a result of the decision to hold a convention in-person rather than virtually.

CNN reports, “The Texas Republican Party said the convention will have multiple precautions and safety measures for attendees, including thermal scanners at entrances and hand sanitizer stations throughout the convention. Meeting areas will be “deep-cleaned thoroughly” between gatherings and there will be expanded seating allowing attendees to social distancing….Donated masks will be available.”

It’s unclear if state party leaders will require attendees to wear face masks as legally required by a July 2 executive order signed by Abbott that requires all Texans to wear face masks in public (or else to face a $250 fine). It’s unlikely though that  Houston police would actively persecute the governor’s own party to enforce his order, even if it did mean potentially preventing a fresh COVID-19 outbreak.

During the 2020 meeting, state Republicans will likely draft a new state party platform. It remains to be seen whether they will keep the 2018 state platform planks that opposed same-sex marriage (three years after it became nationally legalized), supported so-called ex-gay conversion therapy, denying medical care and civil rights to transgender youth, repealing all hate crime legislation, and the right of “religious” businesses owners to refuse service to LGBTQ people without facing any legal consequences.

As of July 3, Texas ranks third among all U.S. states for the highest overall number of COVID-19 cases. Here are some Twitter reactions to the Texas GOP’s decision to host an in-person convention during a global pandemic.

5 days after attending his county party convention, this 75-year-old Texas GOP official was admitted to the hospital with COVID-19. He ultimately died. This is a warning sign for the GOP as it continues w large, mask-less indoor conventions and rallies. https://t.co/3vX1RKhlIW

— Atul Gawande (@Atul_Gawande) June 29, 2020

Texas Republican National Convention is coming to Houston in two weeks. Upwards of 6000 people are expected to be inside the George R. Brown convention center. GRB, run by Houston First Corp @HoustonFirst, says they can not mandate masks b/c it wasn’t in the original contract.

— Anti Trump Texans (@AntiTrumpTexans) July 1, 2020

Among a huge surge in COVID-19 cases in Texas, Gov. Abbott (R) has no plans to ban indoor gatherings, including the Texas Republican Party’s convention in Houston.

Harris County, where Houston is located, has the highest number of cases & deaths in TX. #OneV1#wtpTeam pic.twitter.com/2OzLECi1kx

— ?Angie K ??? (@angie_keathly) June 28, 2020

Now do the Texas Republican Convention in Houston in two weeks with these numbers. @GovAbbott pic.twitter.com/l76F2uRRAo

— BDM 77007 (@ablondewun1) July 1, 2020

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