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When RNC Ends In Charlotte, A 'Never-Trump' Convention Begins


Next Monday, 336 delegates will nominate President Trump for a second term during a small and limited Republican National Convention in Charlotte.

That same day, a group of "never-Trump Republicans" will begin their own four-day convention at the Dunhill hotel a few blocks away. Their meeting is called the Convention on Founding Principles.

The group’s platform doesn’t mention Trump by name, but he’s the reason for the gathering of once-Republican loyalists.

It’s being organized by former North Carolina Supreme Court Justice Bob Orr, a conservative who ran for governor in 2008 as a Republican.

“We’ll try to make it as much of a real convention as possible,” he said. “They’ve even asked me to gavel in the proceedings. I have a gavel. Fortunately, they have not asked me to sing the national anthem.”

Orr partnered with the anti-Trump group Stand Up Republic to organize what was once called a “shadow convention.” Stand Up Republic is led by Evan McMullin, a former CIA officer who ran for president in 2016 as a third-party candidate.

Orr and McMullin and a few others will be headquartered at the Dunhill. They came to Charlotte as a counterweight to the real RNC, which is now much smaller because of the pandemic.

“We intend to have a (broadcast) studio in Charlotte in which our core group will be in and out -- or what one might called the starship for the convention,” he said.

There is a long list of speakers, including former FBI Director James Comey, former CIA director Michael Hayden and Anthony Scaramucci, who was Trump’s communications director for 10 days. Because of the pandemic, they will be speaking virtually from their home cities across the country.

Charlotte’s portion of RNC will end Aug. 24 when 336 delegates will nominate Trump for a second term at the Charlotte Convention Center.

The president isn’t coming to Charlotte. He’s expected to give his acceptance speech in Washington, D.C.

Steve Harrison is WFAE's politics and government reporter. Prior to joining WFAE, Steve worked at the Charlotte Observer, where he started on the business desk, then covered politics extensively as the Observer’s lead city government reporter. Steve also spent 10 years with the Miami Herald. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, the Sporting News and Sports Illustrated.