Joe Biden Suggests DNC May Hold 'Virtual Convention,' Trump Says RNC Has 'No Contingency Plan'

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden said his party may have to hold a "virtual convention" in Milwaukee due to coronavirus, after the Democratic National Committee (DNC) postponed the event until August 17.

Speaking with ABC News' This Week on Sunday, Biden said that he, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and top officials at the DNC are going to "follow the science" as they wait to decide how to hold a presidential nomination convention. Last Friday, Biden disclosed that he was moving forward with the vetting process of his potential Cabinet members and vice presidential picks. Biden insisted Sunday that regardless of the coronavirus situation, the DNC must hold an official convention in some for or another.

The DNC had been pushing back against calls to change the initial July 13 date of the Milwaukee convention, but they quickly changed their minds last week after Biden himself began publicly calling for the coronavirus delay.

"Well we're going to have to do a convention," Biden told This Week host George Stephanopoulos. "But we may have to do a virtual convention. I think we should be thinking about that right now. The idea of holding a convention is going to be necessary, but we may not be able to put 10, 20 or 30,000 people in one place. And that's very possible. Again, let's see where it is. What we do between now and then is going to dictate a lot of that as well. But my point is you just have to follow the science, listen to the experts."

As Politico reported Friday, Biden said he informed Sanders about his plans to move forward with the vetting process of his potential VP and cabinet picks. Biden noted the two are "friends" but "competitors." The Democratic primary process has largely been put on hold since the outbreak of coronavirus across the U.S. at the start of March, but Biden still holds a 1,217 to 914 delegate count lead over the Vermont senator. In total, 1,991 pledged delegates are needed to secure the Democratic Party presidential nomination to face President Donald Trump in November.

Joe Solmonese, the 2020 Democratic convention CEO, told Politico they are discussing ways to scale back the event in order to avoid the appearance they are throwing a "lavish" party in the middle of one of the country's worst economic crises. Trump on Saturday told reporters the Republican National Committee (RNC) has "no contingency plan" for moving their Charlotte events.

A Pew Research Center survey released this week found that a large majority of Americans, 71 percent, said postponing the state primary elections was a necessary step to avoiding more COVID-19 outbreaks. Support for the primary delays is one of the few topics largely agreed upon by both Democrats and Republicans.

The new August 17 date of the Democratic Milwaukee convention is now just one week before the Republicans hold their own in Charlotte, North Carolina between August 24 and August 27. Trump, taking questions at the Coronavirus Task Force press briefing Saturday, said the Republican Party has no plans to reschedule their convention.

"We have no contingency plan. We're having the convention at the end of August and we think by the end of August we'll be in good shape," Trump said at the White House. "It's going to be in North Carolina, as you know, in Charlotte. And I think we're going to have a great convention."

Despite Trump's claims the convention will move forward unchanged, Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles told the Charlotte Observer newspaper she has many coronavirus concerns about the August convention bringing tens of thousands of people to town.

"I don't know the answer to [convention changes] now. I don't know whether or not we will have the ability to do this if this pandemic continues," Lyles said Friday. We'll see."

joe biden dnc virtual convention
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden said his party may have to hold a "virtual convention" in Milwaukee due to coronavirus, with the former vice president saying this just days after the DNC postponed the event until August 17. PAUL MORIGI / Contributor/Getty Images