Parscale Rakes Nirenberg For Not Urgently Pursuing 2020 GOP Convention Hosting Bid

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Mayor Ron Nirenberg

Scott Ball / Rivard Report

Mayor Ron Nirenberg is the object of Twitter taunts from Brad Parscale, President Donald Trump's 2020 campaign manager, about the 2020 Republican National Convention.

President Donald Trump's campaign manager, Brad Parscale, criticized San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg on Twitter Wednesday and again Thursday morning for what he called an "epic political mistake" in not aggressively pursuing a bid by the city for the 2020 Republican National Convention.

The former San Antonio digital data and media specialist, who now operates his political strategy business out of Florida, on Wednesday tweeted: "Coming soon to #SanAntonio: another mayor makes an epic political mistake that takes a possible 200MM from the community. Why??? I want to rip the last hair I have out of my head. Maybe he is just waiting on Mayor Sculley to decide for him."

Parscale, who did work for former Mayor Ivy Taylor's campaign against Nirenberg, was referring to City Manager Sheryl Sculley.

Nirenberg's response Wednesday, not on Twitter, was pointed and brief: "I don’t respond to political operatives’ tweetstorms."

In a subsequent tweet Thursday morning, Parscale again criticized "weak-kneed Ron" Nirenberg, saying he "conspires to kill" chances of the GOP convention being held in San Antonio.

In a telephone interview with the Rivard Report after his Thursday morning tweet, Parscale said he is advocating on San Antonio's behalf for the convention not in his official capacity as Trump's 2020 campaign manager, but “in my personal capacity of a citizen of San Antonio as my hometown.” However, because Trump's campaign has a seat on the host city selection committee, Parscale clearly has influence on where the convention will be held.

“Spending 20 years in the downtown business community, it is obvious that San Antonio has built itself into Convention City USA, with a world-class convention center, a large stadium in downtown walking distance, one of the nation’s largest footprints of hotel rooms, and a downtown perfectly designed for a convention takeover,” Parscale said.

"And I wish that weak-kneed Ron could make a decisive decision that helps the income and prosperity of all San Antonians.”

Brad Parscale attends the re-election campaign announcement of then-Mayor Ivy Taylor in November 2016.

Scott Ball / Rivard Report

Brad Parscale attends the re-election campaign announcement of then-Mayor Ivy Taylor in November 2016.

Before the tweetstorm on Wednesday, the mayor on Monday initiated a process to consider the economic costs and benefits of hosting a national political convention. He  emphasized that GOP interest in San Antonio as a host city had been an on-again, off-again courtship.

What's not clear are the political calculations in considering or promoting the city as convention host. Many political observers consider Texas a safe bet for Republicans, even if San Antonio itself votes Democratic. Presidential candidates often prefer choosing swing states in which to hold their conventions.

"I have no idea why Trump would want his convention in SA, from a strategic point of view," longtime Democratic strategist Paul Begala wrote in an email Wednesday when asked about convention hosting gamesmanship. (Begala, who advised President Clinton, grew up in Texas and received both his undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Texas at Austin.)

"[Trump's] Rust Belt States: Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania – gave him the White House. Florida is absorbing hundreds of thousands of Puerto Ricans – which might tip that state away from him," Begala wrote. "But Parscale is, apparently, worried about Texas. Objects in the mirror may be closer than they appear!"

Sheryl Sculley has been the city manager of San Antonio for 12 years.

Scott Ball / Rivard Report

City Manager Sheryl Sculley

In a memo to City Council members and City staff, including Sculley, Nirenberg on April 23 wrote that the City had been encouraged to submit a proposal to host the 2020 GOP convention. He asked Sculley to arrange a full briefing for Council "at the earliest possible date."

Parscale had emailed the mayor earlier Monday, urging him to make a strong bid to host the convention. Parscale said he had been informed that San Antonio was not pursuing the opportunity. He also noted his own "direct part in this decision making process" as Trump's campaign manager.

"I have been told that San Antonio is not pursing [sic] the opportunity to have the convention in the city. This in my opinion is a big mistake, because San Antonio has a great chance to win. This chance might not come again for decades," Parscale wrote in an email to Nirenberg.

"As we discussed the convention has international exposure, 85,000 room nights, 250MM in economic impact, 15,000 reporters, and even larger than the final four [sic]. I hope politics will not get in the way," Parscale wrote.

He further asked the mayor to inform him if the City decided against pursuing a bid.

Nirenberg disputed Parscale's characterization of the city's interest in possibly hosting the GOP convention. In his memo to Council, he said the City had learned last month it was among several cities being considered by Republican party officials.

"I learned about this during a March 23 meeting hosted by a small group of local business and civic leaders. At that time, I was informed that the Republican National Committee was interested in San Antonio as a possible location for its 2020 convention," Nirenberg wrote in the memo to Council.

The meeting included City officials, Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff, Republican National Committee representatives, and local business leaders.

"I was prepared to inform City Council about this opportunity during its executive session on March 28. However, prior to that date, I was informed that the GOP opted not to pursue a bid from San Antonio. As such, no further discussions occurred" until Parscale emailed him Monday, Nirenberg wrote.

Regardless of timelines, Nirenberg said in a separate statement that he does have reservations about spending millions on a national political convention, regardless of the political party in question.

"The national parties dangle their conventions in front of cities every four years. This is nothing new," he said.

"There is a reason that San Antonio has not pursued a national political convention since 2000. The local community has to commit tens of millions of dollars upfront, and prudent fiscal stewards have good reason to question whether that expense is worthwhile for the community," he said in the statement.

National political conventions can cost a city millions of dollars, but the payoff in national exposure often convinces city officials to push beyond upfront costs.

Wolff, who participated in the meeting March 23, said Thursday morning he believes hosting a GOP convention would be an economic boon for the city. He said that officials in Charlotte, North Carolina, which has publicly announced its bid to host the 2020 Republican convention, cited a positive economic benefit of more than $200 million. Charlotte held the Democratic National Convention in 2012.

Wolff pointed out that the host city for the GOP convention would receive some $40 million in financial assistance from the federal government to help cover security costs.

“The issue [at the March 23 meeting] was, Trump’s a lightning rod, ok? We all know that. And the concern about that,” Wolff said. "But even if he gets the nomination, they fly in and they don’t stay long, and then they leave.”

One major concern, Wolff said, was managing the protests against Trump that most likely would take place. “There will be protest groups, but Washington has him almost every other day.”

“It’s about the democratic process … everyone has their right to say and be part of that process. We shouldn’t hold that against the opposite party having a convention in the city," Wolff said.

Begala said he doesn't believe cities cash in on national political conventions. "But they get invaluable publicity, which, many believe, leads to lots more convention business," he said.

U.S. Rep Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas) addresses the audience at a town hall meeting with the Government Hill Alliance Neighborhood Association at St. Patrick Catholic Church.

Bonnie Arbittier / Rivard Report

U.S. Rep Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas).

U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas) praised Nirenberg for initiating a thoughtful approach to evaluating pros and cons of a convention bid.

"He simply called for council members to meet and consider whether the city wants to undertake raising tens of millions of dollars to attract a convention that may feature Donald Trump," who repeatedly criticizes and strikes out at people of color, Doggett said.

"It's deeply disturbing," he said. "But if there's a positive cost benefit ... the Republicans can come and spend all their money [here.] But we will remain a strong Democratic community, I believe."

19 thoughts on “Parscale Rakes Nirenberg For Not Urgently Pursuing 2020 GOP Convention Hosting Bid

  1. Hasn’t Parscale done enough damage? Isn’t he a Florida resident now – hold the Convention in Miami. Lot’s of Cuban- Americans will be thrilled.

  2. After Mr. Parscale’s success at collaborating with the Russians in getting Donald Trump elected, he promptly moved his operation from San Antonio to Miami. Good riddance. This man and all he stands for is toxic and wholly repugnant to decent, honorable people.

  3. Parscale got quoted some months back on 60 Minutes about the Russia investigations, saying all the evidence was untruthful. I knew then he had to be lying. Of course, having San Antonio host the RNC could make for some good protests.

  4. Not clear whether Brad learned the nasty name calling from Sugar Daddy Trump or Trump thinks its cool to cyber bully people because Brad does it. Glad Parscale left town with his company. He’s not welcome to come back and neither is the Republic convention. BTW, Ron has a code of decency and strong ethics; both Brad and Donald could learn a lot from him. #notmypresident

  5. It’s really funny how some commentators can be oblivious to their own hatred, xenophobia, ignorance.

    “We don’t want that religious white trash in San Antonio.”

    “After Mr. Parscale’s success at collaborating with the Russians in getting Donald Trump elected, he promptly moved his operation from San Antonio to Miami. Good riddance. This man and all he stands for is toxic and wholly repugnant to decent, honorable people.”

    • Agreed. Trump hatred just equals social brownie points around here. So it’s okay to jump in on the social lynching of the right and get nasty. I’d say prove me wrong but 8 comments in a row have already proved my point.

      Having an RNC in San Antonio would have been a brilliant move politically. They are assuming San Antonio will protest. Loudly. Would have let the left hang themselves on their own protests which they’ve done really well for the past few years and brought tons of negative media attention upon themselves while just getting amens from their own choir. Democrats: your protests win zero supporters. The right wants you whine as loudly as ever…it creates Republican votes!

      Why host it in a red town? That’s not good for TV! How do you make the election a reality show? Take the RNC to the majority Latino, democrat-run San Antonio. The demographic that hates Trump the most. Beautiful. Now we’ve got a Bravo show. That is akin to taking the different personalities of housewives and taking them to a nice restaurant with cameras. If you can say one thing about Trumps 2016 campaign it was that it was good TV…and if you don’t think that spectacle adds to his chances for victory you’ve been asleep for the past 3.5 years.

      • It would be nice to look at the GOP needs and requirements without bias and base whether or not we embrace it with the same criteria as the many hundreds of other events SA hosts successfully.
        This potential financial impact is Super Bowl like, and during late August, a need time. Tax revenues and incremental spend by conventioneers will be strong. All this tax revenue benefits the community residents through supporting city services provided with tax increases to do so.

  6. I feel it would be very exciting to see how this show would play out. We would get daily national attention. And maybe the media might look up to SA as a BIG city. The Party doesn’t matter; its just good business sense. It is nothing more than grown-ups doing business. I would enjoy the whole thing, come on Ron lets had a convention lets show America we’ve got this and willing to show off our TOWN! What a great challenge!

  7. It will be interesting to see how it plays out with Mr. Parscale, data, and the Russians. I think there is more there that has yet to be found, as others have noted quite well. Too bad he still has some influence here and is on various nonprofit boards. They are the ones that should be cleaning house and be wary.

  8. Who knew Rivard Report readers were so racist? “White trash?” Come on people, the country is doing great and Hillary lost, get over it.

    More and more democrats are leaving the party to become Republicans. I know, I did it. The left is a bunch of losers- they want you to focus on all the bad. poor pitiful me! The convention would bring jobs and money- who would say no to that? And Russians? HA! C olluded to do what? Not one single vote was changed in a machine- nada- but we do have evidence of dead people and illegals voting! So collude to do what? Run a facebook meme ad? Pendejos

    • If the shoe fits. Parscale’s tweets yesterday were horridly unprofessional and reflect poorly on him and whatever education he supposedly got at Trinity.

  9. Wow, lots of people really buying the Russian collusion narrative with zero evidence. Let’s not make non-leftist political views a crime, like in Cuba, Venezuela, North Korea, China, or other “people’s paradises”.

    By the way the Texas State GOP will holding their convention in San Antonio in June. It’s larger than the National GOP Convention.

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