Judge Lynn Hughes, a Texas federal judge, has ruled that the state can hold an in-person Republican convention in Houston despite a spike in coronavirus cases.
Hughes’ ruling overturns Mayor Sylvester Turner’s cancellation of the contract between the city’s GRB convention center and the GOP. The GOP can hold the convention this weekend or weekend, according to the ruling. Hughes said the Texas Republican Party had “made a good-faith effort to have a virtual convention” but that the City of Houston placed the party in an “untenable position” to orchestrate a virtual convention in “a very short period of time.”
“We are in the midst of a pandemic, a public health crisis. More people are being admitted to our hospitals and ICUs, and more people are dying. The State Republican Executive Committee is being totally irresponsible in continuing to push for an indoor, in-person convention,” Mayor Turner said in a statement condemning the decision. “This reflects a total disregard for the health and safety of employees and people in our city. Upon receiving a written order from the federal judge, the City of Houston and Houston First will appeal.”
Texas Democrats also released a statement slamming the decision.
“After proving that they couldn’t handle a virtual convention, Texas Republicans are now willing to risk the lives of millions of Texans because they are too technologically inept to continue in a safe and distant manner. Shame on the judge who issued this ruling,” they said. “There is no justification whatsoever for holding an in-person convention in the biggest coronavirus hotspot in the country. Texas had a record number of cases, hospitalizations, and deaths today. Houston is one of the hardest hit cities in the country. We have shown absolutely zero signs of flattening the curve. This decision is flat out wrong. Due to this decision, people will get sick and die.”