Trump says he'll accept GOP presidential nomination either at Gettysburg battlefield or White House

The president, who said a final call will be taken soon, faced political backlash over both the options

                            Trump says he'll accept GOP presidential nomination either at Gettysburg battlefield or White House
Trump (Getty Images)

A few days ago, President Donald Trump kept the media guessing about the location where he would accept the Republican presidential nomination. The focus over the venue has been shifting because of the coronavirus pandemic which has affected more than five million Americans till now and claimed more than 163,000 lives. But on Monday, August 10, Trump said he will accept the nomination either at the civil war battlefield in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania or at the White House. 

Trump said in a tweet: “We have narrowed the Presidential Nomination Acceptance Speech, to be delivered on the final night of the Convention (Thursday), to two locations — The Great Battlefield of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, and the White House, Washington, DC We will announce the decision soon!”



The Republican National Convention (RNC) will be held in Charlotte, North Carolina, between August 24 and 27. Hundreds of GOP delegates are set to gather for meetings to nominate Trump who has emerged as a candidate without any competition in this year’s primary season. Three days of speeches and programming will follow thereafter at venues that are yet to be determined. On August 27, Trump is set to deliver his acceptance speech.

In July, Trump announced that his party scrapped plans to hold convention activities in Jacksonville, Florida, where he wanted to shift the convention after NC Governor Roy Cooper expressed reservation over holding massive gatherings in Charlotte because of the pandemic. Florida has seen over 8,200 deaths while the toll in North Carolina is more than 2,000.

Last week, Associated Press reported that North Carolina authorities will ease restrictions for the RNC in Charlotte following a push by the GOP for the Tar Heel State to be more accommodating. However, the event will be nothing like grand conventions that have been held in earlier years in which political leaders addressed huge gatherings of supporters. 

Both the locations have sparked controversy

But Trump’s announcement over the two probable locations has given rise to a controversy. Gettysburg, which is located in the key battleground state of Pennsylvania, is known to be the site of the bloodiest battle of the Civil War and seen historically as a turning point for the Union army against the Confederates who defended the slave-owning south. In 1863, Abraham Lincoln delivered his famous Gettysburg Address there. The idea of Trump delivering his acceptance speech on the battlefield after having repeatedly defended the use of Confederate symbols and monuments in the wake of the race riots did not amuse his critics. 

People watch from the Cemetery Hill as thousands of people re-enact Pickett's Charge on the 150th anniversary of the historic Battle of Gettysburg on July 3, 2013 in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania . (Getty Images)

Bill Krisrol, the GOP Never Trumper, hit out at the president over the Gettysburg option. “Trump speaking at Gettysburg? The good news: 1. The prospect is more ludicrous than sickening. 2. The presumptuousness of the choice of location will backfire. 3. The world will little note, nor long remember what Trump says there,” the neoconservative political analyst tweeted. 



Acceptance speech at White House: Is Hatch Act under threat?

The other option -- White House -- has also faced a backlash. Critics said it would see a violation of the Hatch Act of 1939 that bars federal employees from engaging in political activities while on duty. However, while Trump’s acceptance speech at the White House premises is being seen as use of federal property for partisan politics, the president was not convinced. Last week, he said it was legal adding that the president himself doesn’t come under the scope of the Hatch Act. While it is true that the president and the vice president do not come under the act’s restriction, the political event at the White House could see its aides getting involved with it. 
Trump's presumptive Democratic opponent Joe Biden is likely to deliver his acceptance speech from his residence in Delaware as he is unlikely to attend his party's convention in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, scheduled next week.