RNC 2020: Republicans to host scaled-back convention with some in-person events

2 Illinois delegates heading to Charlotte for roll call vote Monday
CHICAGO (WLS) -- A high-stakes week is ahead for Republicans as they kick off their national convention Monday night.

President Donald Trump will not be able to play to a huge crowd gathered in Charlotte as he had originally hoped, with the coronavirus pandemic forcing a scaled back convention. But unlike the Democrats who met virtually, Republicans will conduct at least some of their business in person.

This year's Republican National Convention will look very different from the one four years ago. This week President Trump and the Republicans will hold a very scaled back convention that has gone through many changes.

Laura Pollastrini, a 14th District delegate, was looking forward to her first convention.

"We went from North Carolina, then canceled North Carolina to Jacksonville, and then Jacksonville got canceled, and now we're all sitting at home. So it's really frustrating for us," Pollastrini said.

"Having it on the camera doesn't hurt us. It actually, in a way, it expands our viewership, it expands how many people could actually be involved," said George Pearson, Will County Republican chairman.

Pearson is planning watch parties with supporters at the headquarters office in Crest Hill.

Due to coronavirus concerns, only two Illinois delegates are actually going to Charlotte for the roll call vote on Monday where they will formally nominate the President. Testing, face coverings and social distancing will be required.

Illinois Republican Party chairman Tim Schneider is one of delegates who will attend the convention.

"The RNC sent out COVID tests to every member that's attending the Charlotte convention. I had to test negative to go to Charlotte. I also have to do a self-test every day and go online and reflect all my symptoms every day," Schneider said.

Delegates also are not concerned with the polls, pointing to how wrong they were four years ago with Hillary Clinton and seeing a silent majority out there that will support the President.

"Because there's so much negativity that's being put out by the media, that people aren't going to, they're not going to answer polls, neighbors aren't going to talk to neighbors, they're not going to tell who they're going to be voting for, come this election," said Lori Yokohama, a Republican delegate for Chicago's 1st District.

President Trump is reportedly very eager to make sure the Republican convention has a very different look and feel than the virtual DNC, with small crowds at some events. He's even making plans to give his acceptance speech from the White House lawn.
Copyright © 2020 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.