The Democratic National Committee is delaying the presidential nominating convention until the week of August 17 after prospective nominee Joe Biden stated that he thinks it would not be possible to hold a typical meeting in mid-July due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Convention CEO Joe Solmonese confirmed the decision in a statement on Thursday.
“In our current climate of uncertainty, we believe the smartest approach is to take additional time to monitor how this situation unfolds so we can best position our party for a safe and successful convention,” Solmonese said.
On Wednesday night, Biden told NBC late-night comedian Jimmy Fallon that he had doubts “whether the Democratic convention is going to be able to be held” on its original July 13-16 schedule in Milwaukee.
“I think it’s going to have move into August,” Biden said. “You just have to be prepared for the alternative, and the alternative — we don’t know what it’s going to be.”
The coronavirus pandemic is now forcing Democrats and Republicans to take a close look as to how to move forward as planned with their summer conventions. Republicans plan to host their gathering on August 24-27 in Charlotte, North Carolina.
In an earlier this week with MSNBC, Biden stated that it is “hard to envision” a standard convention on that schedule. The former vice president also mentions on “The 11th Hour with Brian Williams” that Democrats “have more time” to figure things out. In contrast, party officials consider contingencies that could range from an outright delay to making parts of the proceeding virtual so they can have fewer people attend.
“We were able to do it in the middle of a Civil War all the way through to World War II, have Democratic and Republican conventions and primaries and elections and still have public safety,” Biden said on MSNBC. “We’re able to do both.”
Meanwhile, Republicans are expressing confidence that they can pull off their convention as scheduled, but Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel still allows for the possibility that the pandemic could upend GOP plans.
Neither Democratic nor Republic leaders want to sacrifice the boost that can result from an enthusiastic convention gathering. President Trump, who thrives on big rallies, missed that part of his routine throughout the coronavirus outbreak, reluctantly he turned the Rose Garden and the White House briefing into substitutes. A traditional convention including a nationally television nomination acceptance speech maybe even more crucial for Biden, who has relegated recently to remote television interviews from his Delaware home, unable to draw the particular spotlight that the sitting president commands.