In an interview with Fox News Sunday’s Chris Wallace, John McCain said Hurricane Gustav may alter the plans for the Republican Convention due to start on Monday.
Hurricane Gustav was Category 4 hurricane as it passed through Cuba and is expected to be a strong Category 5 hurricane as it prepares to hit the United states, much like Katrina, which devastated portions of the U.S. Gulf Coast.
According to Washington Wire, Wallace asked John McCain whether there were circumstances in which he would consider suspending the Republican Convention and McCain's reply was, "The reality is we’re likely going to have a national disaster going on. We don’t know exactly what this thing is going to do or when."
McCain said he had been in touch with the Governors from Louisiana, Alabama, Texas, Florida and continued on to say, "I’ve been talking to all of them, but you know it just wouldn’t be appropriate to have a festive occasion while a near tragedy or a terrible challenge is presented in the form of a natural disaster, so we’re monitoring it from day to day and I’m saying a few prayers too.”
The Republican Convention planners are preparing to alter the scheduled events and may simply stick to the minimal ceremony required by law to officially nominate John McCain as the Republican's Presidential candidate and Sarah Palin as the vice presidential candidate for the GOP.
One contingency plan in the event of a worse case scenario where Gustav reaps massive destruction along the U.S. Gulf Coast is to turn a portion of the convention into a "giant hurricane relief telethon", where attending Republicans would be transformed into "Red Cross-type volunteers" as the New York Post phrases it in their report.
Those Republicans would help collect donations, not for the Republican Party or John McCain but instead for storm victims as well as collecting food and goods to help them as well.
McCain - whose campaign motto is "Country First" – said helping people during an emergency will take precedence over accepting his GOP nomination for president.
They are preparing for any possibility and as the McCain campaign notes, in 2000 John McCain postponed the announcement of his presidential campaign because of genocide in the Balkans, so he is expected to continue monitoring the situation and suspend and alter activities at the Convention as he sees fit in order to do whatever can be done to help the victims.
The Republican National Convention President & CEO Maria Cinoissued a statement today which said, "We continue to closely monitor the movement of the storm and are considering necessary contingencies.The safety of our affected delegations is our first priority and preparing for Gustav comes before anything else."
The Post reports that McCain is not due to make his speech until Thursday of next week and that sources have told them he may visit the Gulf Coast earlier in the week.