Trump accuses Biden of dodging the spotlight by pushing 'virtual convention'April 6, 2020
President Donald Trump appeared to suggest on Monday that former Vice President Joe Biden had ulterior motives for suggesting Democrats might need to hold their presidential nominating convention virtually because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“Joe Biden wanted the date for the Democrat National Convention moved to a later time period,” Trump wrote in a tweet. “Now he wants a ‘Virtual’ Convention, one where he doesn’t have to show up. Gee, I wonder why?”
The former vice president quickly shot back on Twitter that “Mr. President, I hope we can gather in Milwaukee, but that is going to depend on you stepping up and doing what needs to be done to handle this pandemic."
Biden suggested on Sunday that his party needs to seriously consider hosting a virtual convention instead of its typical event, which has already been postponed from July until August.
“The idea of holding a convention is going to be necessary, but we may not be able to put 10,000, 20,000, 30,000 people in one place and that's very possible," Biden, the Democratic primary frontrunner, told ABC's "This Week With George Stephanopoulos."
Like almost every other aspect of American life, this year's presidential campaign largely has been put on hold in recent weeks amid the coronavirus' spread across the U.S. Biden's White House campaign has largely shifted online, where the former vice president has hosted town-hall meetings and news briefings from his Delaware home. Trump, too, has put off holding campaign rallies, as has Biden's Democratic rival, Sen. Bernie Sanders.
But the former vice president, prone to gaffes on the stump, has also faced criticism that he has sought to avoid the campaign trail, attacks that Trump alluded to on Monday.
Sanders took swipes at a series of brief speeches Biden delivered at campaign events last month, while Trump’s campaign accused Biden's team of being “desperate” to get the former vice president out of the view of voters and using the coronavirus as an “excuse” to do so.
The Democratic National Committee had resisted calls to delay the party’s nominating convention as the coronavirus spread throughout the country, with most Americans under shelter-in-place orders in an effort to “flatten the curve” of infection rate. The virus has upended nearly every aspect of the 2020 campaign, postponing primary contests, disrupting fundraising and keeping Trump, Sanders and Biden off the campaign trail indefinitely, confined to TV and digital appearances.
But in his TV appearances, between chastising Trump for his administration’s handling of the outbreak and plugging his campaign, Biden has publicly rooted for Trump to defeat the the virus, even offering to speak with the president by phone to offer help.
Trump inquired about that offer Monday, wondering on Twitter “what ever happened to that phone call he told the Fake News he wanted to make to me?”
In his Twitter response to Trump, Biden wrote that “I have laid out how you can" handle the coronavirus pandemic, adding that he would be “happy to discuss anytime.”