Pelosi suggests large venue for DNC amid pandemic
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said she has suggested to Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez that the party hold its nominating convention in a large stadium that would allow for social distancing amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The Democratic National Convention is scheduled to take place in Milwaukee, Wis., Aug. 17-20. But the health emergency the country is facing has caused uncertainty over how conventions can safely take place.
Pelosi said finding a space that would allow individuals to remain six feet apart and potentially shortening the length of the event could be an option.
“When I was a girl, I went with my parents to the convention in Los Angeles, and at that convention, John F. Kennedy was nominated. And he gave his acceptance speech in the Coliseum, this enormous … stadium. So when Obama did that in Denver, everybody said, ‘Oh, it’s the first time,’ [but] that wasn’t the first time: John F Kennedy was the first time,” she said during an interview with C-SPAN on Friday evening.
“So my suggestion to Mr. Perez was get a gigantic stadium and put people six feet apart,” she continued. “So maybe instead of having 80,000 people there, you would have 16,000 people there and just do it all in one day. I served [on] the platform committee [in 1992] so I know what that entails … [you] have your platform and then nominate your vice president, nominate the president, have your speeches and everyone go home.”
The California Democrat noted the logistical issues they face under the current conditions.
“The problem with it is the logistics: you have to have many more buses to get people there. So that was my suggestion to him with absolutely no support for how it could be done, but just going on how exciting it was to be in the stadium [when] John F. Kennedy and Barack Obama made their speeches, but never with the idea that they would be filled up in the case of coronavirus,” she continued.
“So they’ll make an informed decision about it — I feel sad about it because it’s such an exciting thing, and really important that people have Milwaukee … and the state of Wisconsin [have] been so gracious in their hospitality and enthusiasm for hosting, and I’m sure it’s the same in North Carolina, for the Republicans, because it is disappointing when you have a historic event and national event to bring so many people together when we really can’t be together,” she said.
Pelosi added that while it is not ultimately her decision to make, she is confident Perez will ensure that proper safety precautions are taken.
“Well, it’s not my decision and I sympathize with those who have to make it,” she said, noting that she served as the San Francisco Democratic National Convention Host Committee chairwoman in 1984.
“So I have some idea of the amount of work and planning and investment, really, [that] is necessary to put on such a convention,” she continued, “but I have confidence in the chairman of the Democratic National Committee, Chairman Perez, that he’ll make the right decision based on health and science, but also with the opportunity to do so something.”