WASHINGTON (News Nation) — Joe Biden will not travel to Milwaukee to accept the Democratic presidential nomination because of concerns over the coronavirus, party officials said Wednesday.
It is the latest example of the pandemic’s sweeping effects on the 2020 presidential election and the latest blow to traditional party nominating conventions that historically have marked the start of fall general election campaigns.
The former vice president and this year’s presumptive Democratic presidential candidate will instead be accepting his party’s nomination and delivering his convention remarks from his home in Delaware, the DNC told News Nation. The convention organizers had already announced that they would be implementing an almost completely virtual event from August 17-20 amid concerns of coronavirus.
“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. “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.”
Biden and Democrats for months have moved toward a virtual convention, first by delaying the convention from its original mid-July date to the week before Republicans’ scheduled convention in Charlotte, North Carolina.
DNC officials later authorized organizers to plan for virtual proceedings, then added an explicit call for delegates not to travel to Milwaukee. More than 4,000 delegates already were casting mail ballots for Biden’s nomination and a platform that had been written and approved in meetings conducted online. But until Wednesday, it was expected that Biden and his running mate would speak from Milwaukee.
Biden is in the final days of deciding on a vice president, who he has said will be a woman.
Biden’s announcement comes as both parties grapple with how to approach their respective conventions this month ahead of the Nov. 3 election. President Trump during an appearance on “Fox News” on Wednesday morning floated the idea of accepting his nomination from the White House, which would call into question the potential conflict of holding a partisan political event in a publicly funded government building.
Trump’s campaign is “still evaluating” its options following the Republican Party’s decision to cancel its own convention events in Jacksonville, Fla., after moving them from Charlotte, N.C., campaign spokesman Hogan Gidley told News Nation.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.