Democratic National Convention Pushed to August

The stage is reflected on a glass window at Wells Fargo Arena during the 2016 Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/John Locher, File)

WASHINGTON (CN) — After presidential candidate Joe Biden said it was hard to see how the Democratic National Committee could still hold its convention in July, the party announced it would bump the event to Aug. 17 — one week before the Republican Party’s convention.

Biden publicly broached the issue Tuesday on “The 11th Hour with Brian Williams,” saying Democrats had more time to decide their contingency plan for canceling the event, if necessary. 

On Wednesday, Biden told NBC late-night host Jimmy Fallon he thought the convention was “going to have [to] move into August.”

But DNC Chairman Tom Perez had said just weeks earlier that there was no plan to delay the convention, noting the DNC was in touch with local public health officials in Milwaukee, where the event is being held, to monitor the situation.

Since then, some states have extended “stay-at-home” through early June. In a statement Thursday, DNC Convention Committee CEO Joe Solmonese said the best course of action amid the uncertainty is to monitor the national pandemic.

“I have always believed that American innovation and ingenuity shine brightest during our darkest days, and for that reason, I’m confident our convention planning team and our partners will find a way to deliver a convention in Milwaukee this summer that places our Democratic nominee on the path to victory in November,” Solmonese said.

States have taken other actions to protect voters against Covid-19, which as of Thursday afternoon has infected more than 200,000 Americans and claimed the lives of more than 5,100, according to the Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center.

Biden’s home state of Delaware pushed its primary elections back until June. Alaska will complete its primary election entirely by mail — extending that filing deadline until April 10.

Voting delays also come amid record turnout numbers. Virginia, for example, reported 1.3 million votes were cast on Super Tuesday, shattering the previous record of 986,000.

Last week, President Donald Trump said there was “no way” the Republican convention would be canceled. Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Whatley said Sunday the party was firmly committed to moving forward with its event, set to run from Aug. 24–27 in Charlotte, North Carolina.

The cancellation also comes at a time when the National Strategic Supply’s stockpile of personal protective medical equipment is running dry, adding to Americans’ concern to protect themselves from infection. At his daily briefing with the White House task force, Trump said on Wednesday attributed the shortage to federal entities taking supplies directly to hospitals.

Documents from the House Oversight Committee released Thursday show some Federal Emergency Management Agency supplies were not making it to their requested hospitals. According to those documents, FEMA’s Region III, which includes Washington, D.C., received none of the 15,000 body bags it requested, along with other requested PPE.

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