Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee speaks at Hamilton County Republican dinner

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee answers questions during a news conference Wednesday, July 1, 2020, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

Hamilton County Republicans hosted Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee on Friday at an event at the Westin Hotel in Chattanooga that was closed to the media.

The occasion was the GOP group's annual Lincoln Day Dinner - the group's largest annual fundraiser, according to Arch Trimble, president of the Hamilton County Republicans.

Trimble told the Times Free Press on Friday afternoon that no press could attend the event because it was "family only" and the one time of year the group is "allowed to be ourselves."

Attempts to contact multiple spokespeople for the governor on Friday were unsuccessful.

The governor, who extended a statewide emergency declaration amid the COVID-19 pandemic the same day, was named as the keynote speaker at the event, along with Lt.