WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday proposed accepting the Republican Party’s presidential nomination in a speech from the White House, prompting the country’s leading elected Democrat to accuse him of politicizing the historic residence.
Separately, his Democratic rival, former Vice President Joe Biden, will accept his party’s nomination in a national address from his home state of Delaware rather than in Milwaukee as planned, party officials said on Wednesday.
The coronavirus pandemic has led both political parties to downsize their traditional made-for-television affairs featuring often-raucous speeches in front of thousands of the party faithful.
Denied the larger crowds he thrives on, Trump said: “We’re thinking about doing it from the White House.”
Citing the security costs of his travel and an address, Trump told FOX News that holding it at the White House “would be by far the least expensive from the country’s standpoint.”
He said the plan was not firm because somebody had difficulty with it, but did not elaborate.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat who is third in line for the presidency, told MSNBC, Trump would once again “degrade the White House” by using it for a political event.
Republican U.S. Senator Ron Johnson said Trump “probably shouldn’t do it.”
The decision to pull Biden and other speakers from Milwaukee, where Democrats had planned to hold a multi-day nominating convention in person, ensures the event from Aug. 17-20 will be almost entirely virtual.
Citing coronavirus crowd restrictions recommended to fight the pandemic, Biden said at a fundraiser, “I wanted to set an example as to how we should respond individually to this crisis. Science matters.”
Trump told FOX the Republican convention would be virtual and include some live speeches from different locations, with his acceptance speech on the last night. Media will be invited to a “nomination night” in Charlotte, North Carolina, he said, contrary to reports it might be closed to reporters.
Deaths from the coronavirus in the United States have recently been averaging more than 1,000 a day. The election is Nov. 3.
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