100 days to Republican National Convention: Medical experts take center stage

Our team has continued to take meaningful steps to demonstrate our commitment to ensuring the health and safety of convention participants

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Let the countdown begin. Saturday – Saturday, May 16 – officially marks 100 days until the start of the 2020 Republican National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina.

As president and CEO of the convention, I am excited to give you a sneak peak of all the incredible things we have in store to provide a world-class experience for attendees.


In 100 days, you will have a front-row seat as thousands gather in the Queen City to nominate the next President of the United States – Donald J. Trump. All eyes will be on us as we showcase our ideas, our principles, our leaders and the historic results they have produced for the good of all Americans. While COVID-19 was certainly not something anyone could have anticipated, our team has worked incredibly hard to adapt.

This team’s organization, advanced planning, and thorough preparation allowed for us to remain resilient and, therefore, ahead of schedule. With a background in operations and in producing large-scale events, I am familiar with the convention timeline we need to follow to bring a vision to life. While safety remains our top priority for our team as we move forward in planning, we are also hard at work on all other aspects of convention and have made incredible progress in key convention priorities including: arena design, stage programming and event line up. In fact, just recently, President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump gave their seal of approval for critical design elements like the stage, the lectern and the family box.

We are intentional and methodical in every aspect of our design planning – from the lighting to the carpets.

One detail you can expect to see throughout convention week is our consistency and devotion to a “five-star” theme. Everywhere you walk, you’ll see it from the tips of your toes to the tops of the ceiling. We continue to work on week-of programming including a show-stopping lineup of speakers and never-been-done-before events. With planning underway, our team has continued to take meaningful steps to demonstrate our commitment to ensuring the health and safety of convention participants.

We recognized that large-scale events would need to look different in light of COVID-19, and our team unveiled step one of many this month: hiring an experienced health and medical preparedness expert to advise on the implementation of health and safety protocols.

Dr. Jeffrey W. Runge, MD, FACEP is joining our team with over 35 years of experience as a board-certified physician, as well as extensive experience in safety and risk management, medical preparedness and planning.

These are unprecedented times, and as such, we are devoted to finding a way forward for our country and our democracy.

The convention’s nominating process is unquestionably one of our nation’s longest-standing, and most treasured, traditions. It is institutional to our democracy and symbolic of our history.


We are steadfast in our mission to find a way forward after this unprecedented health crisis. We recognize that medical and health experts are not traditionally part of the convention planning process, but we also understand our newfound role as trailblazers and are eager to work with health experts, medical professionals and entities like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the White House Coronavirus Task Force.

We are committed to safely figuring out how we can do our part in reopening America by energizing the local North and South Carolina economy.

Dr. Runge’s expertise will be invaluable as we pave the way forward in planning for this a five-star event.

As we continue to rebuild our economy and recover from COVID-19, I whole-heartedly believe our convention will take on an even greater role in the civic life of our country.

It will be recognized not only in the Queen City of Charlotte, but also across the nation as Americans tune in to celebrate America’s comeback.

We can’t wait to see you in Charlotte – where we will be reminded of American greatness, our nation’s resiliency, and our finest champion and advocate: President Donald J. Trump.

Marcia Lee Kelly is the President and CEO of the 2020 Republican National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina. Most recently, Kelly was the Assistant to the President, Director of White House Management and Administration and Director of the Office of Administration, which provides operational support for the president.