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5 Aug, 2020 19:23

Biden backs out of attending Democratic convention on Covid-19 fears, will instead accept presidential nomination VIRTUALLY

Biden backs out of attending Democratic convention on Covid-19 fears, will instead accept presidential nomination VIRTUALLY

Joe Biden won’t be traveling to Milwaukee as planned to accept the Democratic presidential nomination - he and other scheduled speakers at the party’s national convention will give their speeches remotely, due to Covid-19 fears.

“From the very beginning of this pandemic, we put the health and safety of the American people first,” Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez said Wednesday.

“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.”

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Perez didn’t explain how Biden’s presence at a 188,000-square-foot venue with attendance limited to about 300 at next month’s scaled-down convention would jeopardize lives. Nor did he give details on how or where the candidate would give his acceptance speech. The convention begins on August 17.

Biden traveled to Houston in June to meet with the family of George Floyd, the black man whose May 25 death in Minneapolis police custody set off a wave of anti-racism protests across the country. He has given speeches in recent weeks in his hometown of Wilmington, Delaware, but his campaign has been largely run remotely from his home, leading to quips from Republicans that Biden is being hidden in his basement until election day to cover up his incompetence.

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“OK. Joe Biden is not even campaigning, won’t go to the DNC, has no VP. WTF is this?” independent journalist Tim Pool asked on Twitter. Other critical posters questioned whether Biden was sick or incapacitated and mocked his low-profile campaign strategy, such as one user who said, “Translation: I am not a serious candidate. I need to have my leash on when I speak, and I can do this if I stay at home.”

But other observers applauded the decision, saying it was “good and responsible.” A Twitter user named Allison F. said, “Smart. I miss smart.” Another said, “Smart move. Why travel when it isn’t necessary?”

Some Democrats have urged Biden to remain largely out of public view, including several who suggested he skip the three scheduled debates with President Donald Trump. Jennifer Palmieri, who was White House communications chief under President Barack Obama and an adviser to Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign, said last month in a San Francisco Chronicle interview that Biden is known well by voters and therefore can get away with campaigning virtually.

The Democratic primaries showed strong voter support for Biden as the alternative to Trump and supported him “even though, you now, he’s not the sharpest candidate and he’s not the freshest face.”

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Trump last month canceled the Republican National Convention that was scheduled to be held in Jacksonville, citing rising coronavirus cases in Florida. The scaled-down GOP convention will instead be held in Charlotte, starting August 24. The president said on Wednesday that he may give his acceptance speech for the Republican nomination at the White House, though a decision hasn’t yet been made.

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