Biden: Hard to envision Democrats holding convention in 104 days

Biden: Hard to envision Democrats holding convention in 104 days
© Greg Nash

Democratic presidential candidate Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden campaign cancels fundraiser with Mueller prosecutor Twitter joins Democrats to boost mail-in voting — here's why The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - George Floyd's death sparks protests, National Guard activation MORE said late Tuesday that it is "hard to envision” members of the Democratic Party gathering in 104 days for the Democratic National Convention.

MSNBC’s Brian Williams asked the former vice president whether it was feasible for the country's most prominent Democrats to rally together in a "hot arena" in July. 

"It's hard to envision that," Biden responded. "Again, we should listen to the scientists ... We ought to be able to do what we were able to do it in the middle of the Civil War all the way through to World War II — have Democratic and Republican conventions and primaries and elections and still have public safety. And we're able to do both. But the fact is it may have to be different."

In a statement to The Hill, Democratic National Convention Committee CEO Joe Solmonese said "challenging times require us to be deeply thoughtful about the important and unprecedented moment in which we’re living."

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"Providing an opportunity for our candidate to reaffirm our democratic values, unify the party and share his vision for a safer and stronger future for our country has never before felt more important," Solmonese said.

"As we continue to put plans in place for a successful Democratic National Convention this summer, we will balance protecting the health and well-being of convention attendees and our host city with our responsibility to deliver this historic and critical occasion," he concluded. 

However, Biden said he was confident that the general election in November could be held with a greater use of absentee ballots. 

"There's no rationale for eliminating or delaying the election," Biden told Williams.

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Biden previously shot down the prospect of canceling the convention, saying last month that it is possible to fight the pandemic while moving forward with normal “democratic processes.” 

The Democratic convention is scheduled to take place in Milwaukee in July, but organizers say they are considering “contingency options” should the coronavirus outbreak continue to pose a threat to public health over the summer. 

DNC Chairman Tom PerezThomas Edward PerezClinton’s top five vice presidential picks Government social programs: Triumph of hope over evidence Labor’s 'wasteful spending and mismanagement” at Workers’ Comp MORE said in early March that he was “not contemplating” moving the party’s convention online due to growing coronavirus concerns.

"We'd have to change the rules," Perez said. "We're not contemplating rule changes.” 

The current rules in the DNC’s charter and bylaws say “voting by proxy shall not be permitted at the National Convention.”

“I'm very confident that we’re going to be able to carry it off, and I’m equally confident in the competence of our team,” Perez added in an interview with Axios released March 12.

Just three days after Perez’s recorded interview was released, the Wisconsin Department of Health reported 32 positive COVID-19 cases. As of Tuesday, the number has spiked to 1,351.

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (D) banned mass gatherings and gathering of more than 10 people to stem the spread of the disease. A stay-at-home order is in effect until at least Friday, April 24, or until a superseding order is issued.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpMinneapolis erupts for third night, as protests spread, Trump vows retaliation Stocks open mixed ahead of Trump briefing on China The island that can save America MORE, meanwhile, said there is “no way” he’ll cancel the GOP convention scheduled to take place in Charlotte, N.C.

The GOP convention is scheduled for Aug. 24-27, about two months before the general election in November. 

“We are definitely planning — it’s toward the end of August. Somebody was asking today, ‘Will you cancel your convention?’ I said no way I’m going to cancel the convention. We’re going to have the convention, it's going to be incredible,” Trump said late last month.

- Updated at 12:11 p.m.