Democrats still plan on holding an in-person convention in Milwaukee, Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez said Wednesday.
The convention has been moved from July 13-16 to the week of Aug. 17 as the party copes with the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.
“We moved the convention back five weeks because we thought that would enhance the chances of having a robust, in-person convention,” Perez said during a teleconference call with Wisconsin reporters to discuss the Affordable Care Act.
Perez said organizers “continue to stay in touch with federal, state and local public health officials. We will not have our public health heads in the sand, unlike the other side.”
“We are going to put on a convention in Milwaukee that is safe, that’s exciting, that’s Wisconsiny, that highlights our values and highlights our nominee. And we’re going to talk a lot about health care at this convention.”
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Perez said the party did not have a so-called drop-dead date to decide whether to move forward with an in-person convention as opposed to switching to a virtual event.
Wisconsin is among several states where Democrats are moving to virtual events in state conventions. The state party is holding a virtual convention June 12.
“We’re going to continue every week to monitor the situation on the ground,” Perez said. “What we have found in the course of our work is that the City of Milwaukee has been incredibly flexible, the business community, everyone that we have worked with, they have understood that we’re in an unprecedented situation and everybody needs to be flexible.”
Perez said the party was able to move reservations at hotels and work collaboratively with the owners of the Milwaukee Bucks and Fiserv Forum and other facilities.
“We continue to see a city that wants to welcome Democrats, understands that we may have to make some adjustments, depending on the situation on the ground heading into August 17,” he said. “We’re not going to set artificial deadlines that would tie our hands. We want to make sure we can do it safe, we can do it right and do it in a way that is very, very successful.”
During the call, Perez and Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul defended the ACA, known as Obamacare.
On Wednesday, legal briefs were due at the U.S. Supreme Court in a key challenge to President Barack Obama’s signature legislative achievement. The suit is due to be heard in the fall.
Republican-led states are seeking to invalidate the law and have the support of President Donald Trump.
According to CNN, Trump told reporters Wednesday: “Obamacare is a disaster, but we’ve run it very well, and we’ve made it barely acceptable. It was a disaster under President Obama, and it’s very bad health care. What we want to do is terminate it and give health care. We’ll have great health care, including preexisting conditions.”
Kaul ended Wisconsin’s participation in lawsuits against Obamacare. Wisconsin previously fought Obamacare under former Gov. Scott Walker and former Attorney General Brad Schimel.
“This is a suit that the state of Wisconsin never should have been a part of,” Kaul said. “It’s a suit that should not succeed and it’s a suit frankly that no state should be a part of.”
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