Democrats urge delegates to stay away from convention

Natasha Korecki and Holly Otterbein

The Democratic National Convention in Milwaukee will host presumptive nominee Joe Biden, but delegates are encouraged not to attend in person as the party tries to manage holding its marquee event during the coronavirus pandemic.

Democrats announced on Wednesday that the convention would move from the expansive Fiserv Forum — a state-of-the-art arena where the Milwaukee Bucks basketball team plays — to the much smaller Wisconsin Center, the city’s convention center. Attendees will be capped at 1,000 people, according to three people with knowledge of the discussions.

Biden is expected to speak from the Milwaukee location, and satellite sites are to be set up for broadcasting in other cities.

“Vice President Biden intends to proudly accept his party’s nomination in Milwaukee and take the next step forward towards making Donald Trump a one-term president,” Biden’s campaign manager, Jen O’Malley Dillon, said in a statement. “The city of Milwaukee has been an incredible partner and we are committed to highlighting Wisconsin as a key battleground state at our convention this August.”

The convention is scheduled to run for four days. Party officials said standing committee meetings would be held virtually, and organizers said parties for media and volunteers would not take place in Milwaukee.

The programming will feature “both live broadcasts and curated content from Milwaukee and other satellite cities, locations and landmarks across the country,” Democrats said in a news release.

They also announced that they would consult epidemiologists Ian Lipkin and Larry Brilliant on the convention planning.

Party officials sought to portray themselves as more responsible than President Donald Trump, who wants to hold a large, traditional convention.

“Leadership means being able to adapt to any situation,” said Tom Perez, chairman of the Democratic National Committee. “That’s exactly what we’ve done with our convention. Unlike this president, Joe Biden and Democrats are committed to protecting the health and safety of the American people.”