Joe Biden’s team held its first virtual Milwaukee campaign rally on Wednesday. Biden spoke about what his priorities would be if he was elected president, and attacked Republican President Trump's economic policies and response to the coronavirus.
Leading up to Biden, there were speeches by a few local surrogates.
Congresswoman Gwen Moore hailed Biden, saying he “moved us closer to universal health care than we’ve ever been in our lifetimes” as vice president to President Barack Obama.
Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes introduced Biden. "I could not be more proud to introduce the next president of the United States of America. Vice President Joe Biden," he gushed.
Then, it was Biden's turn. After thanking people for joining the virtual event, Biden immediately addressed the coronavirus pandemic.
"As I speak today, more than 90,000 Americans have lost their lives in this pandemic, including more than 450 Wisconsinites, a number that certainly will be higher when not for the foresight and leadership of your governor," said Biden. "The losses are staggering. And it's frustrating. But more than that, it's heartbreaking to think about how much pain could have been avoided."
Biden attacked President Trump’s handling of the pandemic and economic policies, including the tariff wars.
"Wisconsin farmers have been hit the hardest," said Biden. "Agriculture exports are down and manufacturing is in recession as well. Trump inflicted incredible pain on our farmers — and for what?"
Biden appeared to be standing on a porch. The breeze provided some noise interference. He spoke in mainly broad strokes about his priorities if elected, saying he’d focus on the middle class, education, racial equity. "And access to high quality, affordable health care for every single American," Biden added.
A mix of people commented in the chatbox throughout the rally, some rooting Biden on with “Go Joe!” and some critics trolling the site, saying things like “Trump 2020" or "worst rally in history."
During and after the rally, some viewers criticized Biden’s delivery as “lackluster.” Others praised him, saying he came across as even-handed, calm and rational.
The Republican Party of Wisconsin issued a statement accusing Biden of being out of touch with the needs of Wisconsin families. The GOP says he has a “far-left” agenda that would devastate Wisconsin farmers and result in a government takeover of health care. The statement also says Wisconsin needs to reelect President Trump to “get us through the COVID-19 pandemic and back to prosperity.”
The rally ended with a statement from Democratic U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin who remarked that Milwaukee will be the site of the Democratic National Convention this summer. We still don’t know whether it’ll be virtual, like Biden’s rally. But because of the coronavirus, there’s a chance that a lot of campaigning this year will be done online.