Biden Cancels Wisconsin Trip as Parties Hold Virtual Conventions
Democratic nominee Joe Biden announced Wednesday that he will not attend the Democratic convention in Wisconsin.
Schools and work have turned to virtual settings during the COVID-19 pandemic, so it should come as no surprise that the Democratic and Republican parties will hold mostly virtual conventions this year. Under normal circumstances, August would be a celebratory month, full of pomp and circumstance as the parties name delegates and kick off the general election season. Instead, the parties will hold virtual conventions with the candidates delivering their acceptance speeches remotely.
Biden Will Remain in Delaware
Presumed Democratic nominee Joe Biden announced Wednesday that he will not attend the Democratic convention in Wisconsin, The New York Times reported. The decision was made out of caution for the health pandemic.
“From the very beginning of this pandemic, we put the health and safety of the American people first,” said Tom Perez, chairman of the Democratic National Committee. “That’s the kind of steady and responsible leadership America deserves. And that’s the leadership Joe Biden will bring to the White House.”
Furthermore, the party has decreed that national party officials will not travel beyond their home states for events. Consequently, Biden said he will broadcast an acceptance speech from Delaware, Reuters reported. The convention, slated for Aug. 17 to 20, will be predominately conducted remotely as other scheduled speakers have pulled themselves from the in-person schedule.
Those speakers include former President Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, and Jill Biden, all of who will continue to deliver their remarks remotely as the parties hold virtual conventions. As Democratic delegates are not attending either, there won’t be much of a show in Milwaukee.
After Bouncing From Charlotte to Jacksonville, GOP Settles on Virtual
Democratic Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers offered his thoughts as the parties hold virtual conventions. Like Perez, Evers emphasized the need for safety as a priority, Bill Barrow wrote for The Associated Press.
“The upcoming Democratic convention is different than we’d imagined. 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 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.”
On the opposite side of the aisle, the Republican Party has similarly downscaled its convention plans. Initially scheduled to be held in Charlotte, N.C., the convention was then split between Charlotte and Jacksonville, Fla., after President Donald Trump took umbrage with health safety measures North Carolina planned to institute, Reuters reported.
The president has since cancelled the events planned in Jacksonville and the GOP will only hold one night, the nomination night, in-person in Charlotte.
Can Trump Deliver His Speech From The White House?
Speakers will broadcast their talks remotely, including Trump who is scheduled to give his acceptance speech on Aug. 27. During an interview on “Fox & Friends” Wednesday, he floated the idea of using the White House as the location for his speech.
“I think it’s a beautiful setting, and we are thinking about that,” Trump said on the Fox News program. “It’s certainly one of the alternatives.”
He added that “If for some reason somebody had difficulty with it, I would, I could go someplace else. The easiest, least expensive and I think very beautiful would be live from the White House.”
Congresspeople from both parties immediately voiced their disproval of using the White House for a partisan campaign event, however, The Associated Press reported.
“He can’t do that. You can’t do that,” said Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D–Cali.
Republican Senators John Thune of South Dakota and John Cornyn of Texas also noted such an event may violate the Hatch Act. Although the president himself is not subject to the 1939 law, those who work for him are and if he orders them to arrange a campaign event at a federal office such as the White House, they would be in violation, Sarah Midkiff wrote for Refinery29.
“I would have to have somebody show me where it says he could do that. I would think on government property would be problematic,” Cornyn said.