Biden Will Not Travel to Milwaukee to Accept Democratic Nomination
MILWAUKEE, Wis.— Former Vice President Joe Biden will not travel to Milwaukee, Wis., later this month to accept the Democratic presidential nomination due to concerns over the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Party officials also said Wednesday none of the other planned speakers for the 2020 Democratic National Convention will travel to Milwaukee for the event, meaning that the convention has essentially become entirely virtual.
The plan now is for Biden to address the nation and accept the nomination from his home state of Delaware, though no further details were announced.
A DNC official said all speakers and presenters for the Aug. 17-24 convention are now expected to speak from remote locations.
“From the very beginning of this pandemic, we put the health and safety of the American people first,” said Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez in a written statement.
“We followed the science, listened to doctors and public health experts, and we continued making adjustments to our plans in order to protect lives. That’s the kind of steady and responsible leadership America deserves. And that’s the leadership Joe Biden will bring to the White House,” Perez said.
Neither the Biden campaign nor DNC officials expanded on the announcement, which was released through the convention’s website.
In a separate statement Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers said Biden made the right decision.
“A lot has changed since we set out on this journey more than a year ago now, but the one thing that hasn’t is Democrats’ commitment to putting health and safety first,” Evers, a Democrat, said.
“It has never been more important for elected officials to lead by example — that’s the kind of leader Joe is, and that’s the kind of president we need. I know he will continue to have a presence in Wisconsin, virtually or otherwise, and I look forward to doing everything we can to win Wisconsin,” the governor added.
Joe Solmonese, CEO of the 2020 Democratic National Convention, said Wednesday that “2020 will always be remembered as a year of once-in-a-lifetime challenges and changes—but it will also be remembered as a time when Americans were their most compassionate and resilient selves.”
“While we wish we could move forward with welcoming the world to beautiful Milwaukee in two weeks, we recognize protecting the health of our host community and everyone involved with this convention must be paramount,” he said.
The plan now is for the Democratic National Convention to air for two hours each night, 9:00-11:00 p.m. Eastern Time, from August 17-20, 2020.
A custom virtual video control room has been designed to take in hundreds of feeds from around the country, including the potential of interacting with Americans from around the country.
“This convention will look different than any previous convention in history,” Solmonese said. “It will reach more people than ever before, and truly be a convention across America for all Americans, regardless of which party you belong to or who you’ve voted for in previous elections.”
Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett told reporters he learned of the decision early Wednesday in a phone call with the leadership team of the Democratic National Convention.
“I would be lying if I didn’t tell you that I’m very, very disappointed in this, professionally and personally, because I think we all have had so much pride in having Milwaukee chosen to host the 2020 Democratic National Convention,” Barrett said.
But Barrett, a Democrat, added that the higher priorities are public health, economic recovery and nation’s reckoning on systemic racism. “I think all of us have to keep this in perspective,” he said.
President Donald Trump has abandoned his own plans to accept the Republican nomination in person. On Wednesday, he mused about potentially making his acceptance speech from the White House.