Republicans will officially head to Milwaukee to select their next presidential nominee, Republican National Committee chairwoman Ronna McDaniel announced Friday, describing the host of the party’s 2024 convention as “a great city.”
The convention site was unanimously approved by RNC members during a closed-door vote Friday morning at the party’s annual summer meeting here. McDaniel was joined by former White House chief of staff and onetime RNC chairman Reince Priebus, along with members of the party’s Wisconsin delegation for the announcement.
“In the next two years, we look forward to working with the mayor and everyone in the community to make this an event that highlights not just our nominee … but the great city that Milwaukee is,” McDaniel said.
Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson, a Democrat, defended the decision to host the convention in his city, telling CNN the move “does not mean” Milwaukee is “signing up for the platform of the Republican Party.”
“My stance, and I think that most Democrats understand this, is that this is not a political decision, it is a business decision,” Johnson said. “It will present an opportunity for us to have millions of dollars of economic impact … for us to fill our restaurants, our bars, our hotels, and to support our hospitality industry that’s been battered by Covid, of course, over the last couple of years.”
Johnson joined McDaniel Friday to officially unveil Milwaukee as the convention site choice, just days after Nashville fell out of contention as a potential alternative. Milwaukee began its bid to be a convention host nearly a year ago, and city representatives met with RNC officials in February as they toured finalist cities, which included Salt Lake City and Pittsburgh at the time. Both cities were later removed from the running.
Later Friday, former President Donald Trump is scheduled to host a rally in the Milwaukee suburb of Waukesha to campaign for Tim Michels, the GOP candidate for governor, ahead of the state’s primary next week. Trump’s sustained popularity with the GOP base would likely position him as a front-runner in a crowded 2024 GOP primary should he launch another presidential campaign, as is widely expected.
Johnson, who said he will actively campaign for President Joe Biden’s reelection in 2024, dismissed security concerns about protests around the convention in Milwaukee, including if Trump – one of the most polarizing figures in American politics – is the Republican nominee.
“I think that any time you host a large-scale event, there is potential for that sort of activity. Our police department is well-versed, and I think they are prepared for the convention,” Johnson said, noting that Milwaukee was originally supposed to host the 2020 Democratic National Convention before it switched to a virtual format amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“The police in Milwaukee are already well prepared for this and will really be in a prime position to execute what we were about to execute the last go-round,” Johnson said.
This story has been updated with additional reporting on the selection.