Biden says 'hard to envision' Democratic National Convention going on as planned

Rebecca Shabad

WASHINGTON — Joe Biden said Tuesday night that he's not sure the Democratic National Convention will go on as planned in July because of the coronavirus outbreak.

On MSNBC’s "11th Hour," host Brian Williams asked the leading Democratic presidential contender whether he envisions prominent party members from all 50 states packing into a hot arena in 104 days.

"It's hard to envision that," Biden responded.

The former vice president suggested that holding the convention should be contingent on what experts recommend, saying, "We should listen to the scientists."

The Democratic National Convention is slated for July 13 to July 16 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and the Republican convention is scheduled for August 24 to August 27 in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Earlier this month, NBC News reported that party leaders were being forced to consider whether their conventions could be scaled back or canceled. Democratic convention CEO Joe Solmonese said that his team had been "in constant communication with the local, state, and federal officials responsible for protecting public health and security" as the "fluid" situation develops.

Biden leads Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., by 312 delegates, 1,183 to 871, according to NBC News' delegate tracker. A candidate needs 1,991 delegates to clinch the nomination.

"We ought to be able to do what we were able to do 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," Biden said. "We're able to do both."

The White House has extended until the end of April its social distancing guidelines to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus. Some officials are suggesting that the restrictions could continue into May; some states have extended their own rules until June.