Trump’s strategy is clear, according to a Republican operative who is familiar with the convention process: Trump is trying to force Cooper “to become a villain,” said the operator, so if changes have to be made to the convention, it could be to blame the Democratic governor, not the Republican planning committee .
A source familiar with Trump’s thoughts told CNN that the President’s goal with his tweet was to try to force Cooper to determine what rules of the road for the convention, and underline that Trump did not want to withdraw from North Carolina.
This is a public fight for a Democrat who has maintained a relatively low national profile for most of his career.
Cooper is a North Carolinian for life. Grew up in Nash County – which is near Raleigh – the governor candidate received a bachelor’s degree and law from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Cooper immediately entered politics after graduating. He was first elected to the North Carolina House of Representatives in 1986 and was first appointed and then elected to the state Senate starting in 1991. He rose to become the Democratic majority leader in the state Senate.
This rapid increase makes Cooper a highly sought-after candidate in all states in the Democratic circles. He won his first statewide race in 2000, for attorney general North Carolina, a role he would hold for four periods. Cooper was recruited to run for other positions throughout the state during his tenure, but decided not to jump to another office until 2016, when he chose to run against Republican Pat Pat McCrory.
The race was hotly contested and was seen as closely related to the presidential campaign between Trump and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
Cooper eventually won with more than 10,000 votes, making McCrory the first North Carolina governor in history to lose an offer to be re-elected.
Cooper’s victory was a lesson for Democrats in 2016. The party took a hard hit across the country on Election Day, including elsewhere in North Carolina, where Democrat Deborah Ross lost to Republican Senator Richard Burr who served.
Cooper and the North Carolina General Assembly have been in a state of almost constant conflict since the Democrats were elected, leading to a series of veto and veto overruling between the two sides in everything from judicial nominations to state budgets.
Trump’s decision to chase Cooper on Monday was a low point in an otherwise friendly relationship, especially compared to how Trump had handled other Democratic governors.
Trump and Cooper have worked together on hurricane relief, such as the Hurricane of Florence in 2018, and the President of the Republic has included Democrats in some of his work, including when he nominated Cooper to be part of the White House task force to combat the ongoing opioid crisis. .
Trump has repeatedly criticized the governor, who according to him is moving too slowly to reopen countries in the face of a coronavirus pandemic. But on Monday’s tweet, blind party officials and convention organizers, who have long said health and safety will take precedence when planning a convention, an argument weakened by Trump’s tweet.
“State health officials are working with (the Republican National Committee) and will review their plans when they make decisions about how to hold a convention in Charlotte,” Dory MacMillian, a Cooper spokesman, said after Trump’s tweet on Monday. “North Carolina relies on data and science to protect the health and public safety of our state.”
Cooper, in an interview with CNN before Trump’s tweet, said there was still plenty of time to worry about the Republican convention.
“The good thing is this is three months away and it is still too early to say where North Carolina will be,” Cooper told CNN. “But we see objective steps that can be seen by everyone, which can be examined publicly.”
Ryan Nobles, Jeff Zeleny, Betsy Klein, Dana Bash, and Eric Bradner from CNN contributed to this report.
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