Fri, 18 Sep 2020

Former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden has decided to not travel to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to accept the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination at the party's national convention this month out of fear of the "worsening" coronavirus pandemic, convention organizers said Wednesday.

The party said none of the planned convention speakers would go to the Midwestern city, in order to "prevent risking the health of our host community as well as the convention's production teams, security officials, community partners, media and others." Normally about 50,000 convention delegates, workers and media would have gone to the four-day event starting August 17.

Much of the convention will now be conducted virtually, likely from several cities. That means there will be none of the hoopla that typically accompanies the quadrennial event, which culminates with the presidential nomination acceptance speech and thousands of red, white and blue balloons cascading from the convention hall rafters.

National party officials did not say where Biden would deliver his speech accepting the nomination on August 20, but convention organizers in Milwaukee said it would be from his home in the Eastern state of Delaware.

With the recent surge in coronavirus cases in the U.S., both Democratic and Republican party officials have sharply curtailed their conventions, normally a keystone of U.S. presidential campaigns. The national election will be on November 3.

Republicans in North Carolina

The Republicans are holding their scaled-down convention to nominate President Donald Trump in Charlotte, North Carolina, starting August 24.

Some events, including Trump's acceptance speech, had been moved to Jacksonville, Florida, when North Carolina's Democratic governor, Roy Cooper, refused to guarantee, because of coronavirus fears, that Republicans would be allowed to pack a basketball arena there for their convention.

But as the number of confirmed virus cases spiked in Florida, Trump also dropped Jacksonville as the site of his speech.

Trump has not definitively said where he will deliver his presidential renomination acceptance speech, although he told the "Fox & Friends" show Wednesday, "I'll probably do mine live from the White House."

In curbing the Democrats' plans for Milwaukee, party chair Tom Perez said, "From the very beginning of this pandemic, we put the health and safety of the American people first. We followed the science, listened to doctors and public health experts, and we continued making adjustments to our plans in order to protect lives."

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