While the board was voting on Thursday during a four-hour meeting, Trump — who has been calling on schools to fully reopen and has threatened to withhold funding from districts that don’t — canceled the part of the Republican National Convention in Jacksonville.
At a coronavirus briefing at the White House, he said: “I looked at my team and I said the timing for this event is not right, just not right with what’s happened recently. The flare-up in Florida to have a big convention is not the right time. It’s really something that for me, I have to protect the American people. That’s what I’ve always done. That’s what I always will do. That’s what I’m about.”
The formal nominating process scheduled to take place in Charlotte will proceed, he said.
The county school reopening plan must be approved by the Department of Education in Florida, where Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) is a strong Trump supporter and has urged schools to fully reopen. The plan says the board can reevaluate after Labor Day and move entirely to virtual learning if coronavirus rates are very high.
Florida is the current epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic, with the highest rates in Southern Florida. Duval County is in the northeastern part of Florida. News4Jax quoted Superintendent Diana L. Greene as saying that although Duval County has more than 17,000 coronavirus cases, “we still believe the number of cases that we have in Duval County merits this hybrid model.”
Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, criticized Trump, saying: “The president’s hypocrisy knows no bounds. Today he shut down the GOP National Convention in Florida in one breath, while pushing to reopen schools in the next. It seems the lives of kids and teachers are less important to the president than those of GOP delegates.”