- The Washington Times
Sunday, May 17, 2020

While many political forces are dithering over social distancing due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Republican Party is full speed ahead on the 2020 Republican National Convention, set for late August in Charlotte, North Carolina. The attendance numbers are sizable. Organizers expect 50,000 attendees, 15,000 journalists and 8,000 volunteers.

The event also could have a $300 million economic impact on the city of Charlotte itself. And that event is now less than 100 days off.


“While convention planning has been under way for well over a year, the 100-day mark is a significant benchmark as it’s when all of our planning and preparation moves into execution mode,” says MarciaLee Kelly, who head up the event’s committee of arrangements and logistics.

“In 100 days, the Republican Party will gather together, where we will reflect on the incredible legacy and tremendous accomplishments of the Trump Administration. During this historic event, we will celebrate American greatness, honor our nation’s resiliency, and proudly re-nominate President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence for four more years of record-breaking results.” Ms. Kelly says.

And what about that safety and social distancing?

The convention has named Dr. Jeffrey W. Runge, a health security expert, as a lead advisor for the planning aspect of the convention — a mammoth task. Dr. Runge is a board-certified physician in emergency medicine with a medical and risk management background on federal and state levels. Staging an in-person event in the midst of a major pandemic is an unprecedented challenge.

“We recognize this hasn’t been done before, but we remain committed to leading the path forward so that we can safely reopen America and create a five-star event for attendees and guests this August.” .

ARE YOU PAYING ATTENTION?

So who’s paying close attention to the presidential campaign besides the candidates and the news media? A new Economist/YouGov poll finds that 26% of U.S. adults are paying “only a little attention” to the White House race, while 14% are paying no attention whatsoever to all the political hoopla.

“They got that right. I’m not paying attention because I’ve already made up my mind who I was voting for quite some time ago,” notes one Republican, who is a registered voter and supports President Trump.

This voter is not alone. Another survey — this from National Public Radio, PBS and Marist College — found that 74% of Republicans also say they’ve made up their minds on the election.

FOXIFIED, THE DIGITAL VERSION

The online presence of Fox News continues to flourish.

Fox News Digital finished the month of April with double digit increases as high as 26% for such key performance indicators as the number of views of assorted features and visitor time spent at the site, this according to the industry source Comscore.

In terms of total views, Fox News attracted 1.9 billion multi-platform views in total and visitors spent a total of 4.5 billion minutes perusing the content.

“The strong performance also helped propel the FOX News Mobile app ahead of the CNN Mobile app for the 17th month in a row in unique visitors (8.7 million versus CNN’s 7.3 million),” the network noted.

For the 68th consecutive month, Fox News remained the most engaged news brand on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram compared to other major news organizations, enjoying some 55 million interactions, according to Socialbakers, another industry source.

GEN. VICTOR HUGO: IN APPRECIATION

With appreciation and melancholy, Inside the Beltway notes the passing of retired U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Victor Hugo, a combat veteran who saw service in Vietnam and Korea, and much more. He died May 11 at the age of 88 — and yes, he was a direct descendent of the famous French writer of the same name.

Hugo graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in 1954 and served with the 1st Special Forces Group; 1st Battalion 44th Artillery; 38th Air Defense Brigade; and 32nd Army Air Defense Command. The number of medals he accrued over the years was, in a word, amazing.

In addition, Hugo also was assigned to the CIA as a case officer for unconventional warfare and paramilitary actions in Vietnam, and spent some time in his early days with the 3rd Infantry Regiment — The Old Guard — at Fort Myer, Virginia. He literally wrote the plan and protocols for the interment ceremony of unknown soldiers from World War II and Korea.

The Association of the United States Army described Hugo as a “special forces icon.”

Indeed. Inner mettle, focus and inventiveness was the primary directive for this officer. He was also a gentleman of the first order — a cheerful man of generous spirit and kindness who carried on Army traditions and can-do spirit with a keen eye on the future. And he liked a good celebration. Hugo served as the master of ceremonies for the OSS Society’s annual dinner in the nation’s capital. The organization honors those who served in the Office of Strategic Services the World War II-era clandestine entity which became the CIA in the years that followed. The splendid event itself draws an unbelievable roster of famous and noteworthy guests.

“This is the best-kept secret in Washington,” a smiling Gen. Hugo once told Inside the Beltway.

Indeed, but the event won’t be the same without him.

POLL DU JOUR

• 33% of U.S. adults are paying “a lot of attention” to the 2020 election campaign for president; 34% of Republicans, 25% of independents and 41% of Democrats agree.

• 27% overall are paying “some attention ” to the campaign; 30% of Republicans, 24% of independents and 28% of Democrats agree.

• 26% are paying “Only a little attention” to the campaign; 28% of Republicans, 27% of independents and 23% of Democrats agree.

• 14% overall all paying “no attention at all” to the campaign; 9% of Republicans, 23% of independents and 7% of Democrats agree.

Source: AN Economist/YouGov poll of 1,500 U.S. adults conducted May 10-12.

• Helpful information to jharper@washingtontimes.com.


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