Joe Biden will not travel to Milwaukee for Democratic convention

Amanda Holpuch in New York
·2 min read
<span>Photograph: Andrew Harnik/AP</span>
Photograph: Andrew Harnik/AP

Joe Biden, the presumptive nominee for president, will not travel to the Democratic national convention in Milwaukee to accept the nomination in-person, Democrats announced on Wednesday.

The country’s two main political parties have scaled back this year’s conventions because of Covid-19. Hours before the Biden announcement, Donald Trump said he was considering delivering his Republican national convention speech from the White House South Lawn.

Related: Biden won't travel to Democratic convention to accept nomination amid pandemic – live

The Democratic National Committee (DNC) chair, Tom Perez, said the decision to halt Biden and others from speaking in Milwaukee was made after consulting public health officials and experts. “We followed the science, listened to doctors and public health experts and we continued making adjustments in order to protect lives,” Perez said in a statement.

Earlier on Wednesday, Trump told Fox & Friends about potentially delivering his acceptance speech from the White House.

Such a move would further blur the line between official presidential business and campaign events – something Trump has done more than recent US presidents.

“We’re thinking about it,” Trump said, speaking on Fox & Friends. “It would be the easiest from the standpoint of security.”

The Republican convention was initially set for Charlotte, North Carolina, but party leaders downscaled the event because of concerns about coronavirus. The city will still play host to a smaller gathering of Republican delegates to hold the meetings necessary to officially nominate Trump as the party’s candidate in the November presidential election.

Three more days of speeches and other events are set to take place, though Republicans have not announced where those will take place.

After the Charlotte meeting was stripped down, Trump was set to deliver his acceptance speech in Jacksonville, Florida. That plan was abruptly abandoned in late July, as coronavirus cases surged across the state.

Trump said the White House lawn was a “beautiful setting” and was the “easiest alternative”.

The Hatch Act prohibits federal employees from using government property for political purposes, but the president and vice-president are exempt from those restrictions.

Other government employees involved with putting on the event would, however, be vulnerable to violating the act.

An anonymous source familiar with the discussions told the Washington Post the Trump International hotel in DC was also under consideration as a venue.

Trump claimed in his interview with Fox News on Wednesday that the US would “probably be in very good shape” in terms of the pandemic by polling day on 3 November.

The US is an international hotspot for the disease, struggling to contain its spread. At least 1,358 deaths and 53,304 new coronavirus cases were reported on Tuesday – the numbers rising back up after a few days of falling.