MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Vice President Mike Pence poked fun at Democrats during a visit to Wisconsin on Wednesday for canceling their in-person national convention in Milwaukee in favor of a virtual gathering due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“I did hear the Democrats were supposed to have their national convention in Wisconsin, but they couldn’t make it,” Pence said during a visit to metal fabricator Tankcraft Corporation in Darien, about 50 miles southwest of Milwaukee. “That’s really nothing new. I heard on the way here that Joe Biden hasn’t been to Wisconsin in 659 days.”
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Biden’s last in-person campaign stop in Wisconsin was on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus on Oct. 30, 2018, in the waning days of the midterm election. He has hosted virtual events and was supposed to accept the presidential nomination at the convention on Thursday, but due to COVID-19 will instead deliver his speech from his home in Delaware.
Pence’s visit was his fifth this year to Wisconsin, which narrowly backed Donald Trump during his 2016 campaign and is viewed as a battleground state in November’s election. It came two days after Trump held a rally in Oshkosh and a day after Trump’s son Eric Trump made a stop in Milwaukee.
“Get used to seeing us, because President Donald Trump and I are going to be back to Wisconsin again and again and again to earn four more years in the White House,” Pence said. “When the other side’s online, we’re going to be on the streets.”
Although Pence dinged Democrats for their all-virtual convention, Republicans also canceled a planned in-person convention in Florida due to a spike in COVID-19 cases. Instead, Republicans will hold business portions of their convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, as originally planned. Trump plans to deliver his acceptance speech from the White House.
Biden’s Wisconsin state director Danielle Melfi said in a statement that Trump and Pence have failed Wisconsin as COVID-19 cases rise, communities don’t have enough testing supplies and health care workers face a shortage of protective equipment.
“As the Democratic National Convention continues, the contrast between Joe Biden and Kamala Harris’ unifying vision for America and Trump and Pence’s failed leadership could not be more stark,” Melfi said.
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