Jeramey Jannene

Barrett Disappointed Biden Won’t Attend DNC

The biggest party in Democratic politics may be nothing more than a local get-together.

By - Aug 5th, 2020 03:09 pm
Wisconsin Center. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Wisconsin Center. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Mayor Tom Barrett is disappointed, both personally and professionally, that the former Vice President Joe Biden won’t attend Democratic National Convention in person in Milwaukee.

“I can’t hide my disappointment” said Barrett in a press briefing.

Barrett said the decision was made Tuesday night by the national party and he was informed Wednesday morning.

The Democratic National Convention Committee formally announced the news Wednesday morning, saying that Biden would speak from Delaware and his running mate would also speak r

emotely.

“I acted immediately and said ‘put the breaks on what is being spent right now’,” said Barrett of security planning for the event. The city is expected to be reimbursed from a $50 million federal grant for its costs related to the convention.

When an earlier decision was made to make it a largely virtual event the U.S. Department of Justice stepped in to temporarily suspend any spending.

What happens to the security perimeter and National Security Event designation if there is nothing to secure? “I don’t have an answer to that right now,” said the mayor.

He said he was consulting with the City Attorney to make sure the city was protected.

“In my mind this is a 100 percent virtual convention,” said Barrett, noting that a local delegation, similar to what other state delegations have planned.

Protesters may still show up, but without the national media on site to cover them. “I wouldn’t be surprised if we had a lot fewer demonstrators, but I can’t guarantee that,” he said. Five or fewer official requests came in for permits according to Barrett.

“We cannot forget we are in the middle of a pandemic,” said Barrett. “Our priorities have to be on helping people get their lives back in order.”

What about getting the convention in 2024? “My response to that is we are focused on now,” said Barrett. He has previously said it was unlikely the party would award the city the next convention without bidding.

But he thinks Milwaukeeans should be proud they secured the convention. “We did so because we proved our ability to host an event on the grandest stage.”

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