Watch CBS News

Trump says he will accept GOP nomination at the White House

Campaigns adjust conventions amid pandemic
How virtual party conventions could impact the 2020 election 10:57

President Trump said Thursday that he will deliver his acceptance speech for the Republican nomination for president at the White House, flouting critics who called the location inappropriate for a campaign address.

"I'll probably be giving my speech at the White House because it is a great place. It's a place that makes me feel good, it makes the country feel good," Mr. Trump said in an interview with the New York Post published Thursday evening. He added that he would deliver the speech outside "on one of the lawns" so people could practice social distancing guidelines. He said that there could be a "big group of people" to attend his address, despite the threat of the coronavirus.

"We could have quite a group of people. It's very big, a very big lawn. We could have a big group of people," Mr. Trump said.

Mr. Trump's announcement came after the U.S. Office of Special Counsel confirmed federal law does not preclude the president from delivering his acceptance speech at the White House.

"The president and the vice president are not covered by any provisions of the Hatch Act," Erica Hamrick, deputy chief of the office's Hatch Act Unit, said in a letter Wednesday. "Accordingly, the Hatch Act does not prohibit President Trump from delivering his RNC acceptance speech on White House grounds."

The president had debated between giving his address at the White House or at Gettysburg. Mr. Trump told the Post that he would hold an event at Gettysburg at "a later date."

Mr. Trump was set to accept the nomination in Jacksonville, Florida, but the in-person Republican National Convention events there were canceled due to the virus. The president had moved his speech from Charlotte, North Carolina to Jacksonville in June because of coronavirus guidelines set by the North Carolina governor restricting the number of people who could attend the convention.

The RNC is still planning three nights of programming for the convention that will feature a combination of live events and virtual livestreams. Mr. Trump will also be featured each day of the Republican National Convention, senior Trump campaign officials told CBS News. Ahead of his White House address, the president will honor doctors, nurses and other frontline workers on one of the nights.

The week will feature speeches from Ivanka Trump, Donald Trump Jr., Eric Trump and Tiffany Trump, plus first lady Melania Trump, who will speak on August 25, according to campaign officials. Vice President Mike Pence will speak on August 26 from Fort McHenry.

Other speakers during the week will include Senator Tim Scott and Joni Ernst, House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy, and former Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.