Wisconsin Dems kicked off the party’s national convention by noting it wasn’t the event they had originally hoped for — and placing the blame for that at the feet of President Trump.

Mayor Tom Barrett offered a virtual welcome to Milwaukee for those who tuned in, noting the city wouldn’t see the 50,000 visitors or the $200 million financial impact from hosting in-person delegates, journalists, activists and others.

Still, while it was a blow for the city, he noted more than 170,000 Americans have died from COVID-19.

“Joe Biden has never called this a hoax. Joe Biden has never made fun of people wearing masks. Joe Biden has never belittled health experts because he understands what we’re facing,” Barrett said.

During a February rally in South Carolina, Trump likened Dems’ criticism of his administration’s response to the outbreak, then in its early stages, to the efforts to impeach him, saying “this is their new hoax.”

Delegate breakfast meetings are a staple of national conventions, serving as both an organizing meeting for the day and a mini-pep rally. Barrett, Biden state Director Danielle Melfi, Milwaukee County Exec David Crowley, U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore, Gov. Tony Evers and U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin took turns addressing delegates virtually, knocking the president’s handling of COVID-19 while urging them to do the work needed to elect Biden.

At its peak, around 225 people were watching the virtual breakfast, which had just less than 900 total views.

While Dems are meeting virtually, Trump’s campaign planned a series of in-person stops in Wisconsin this week, and Baldwin, D-Madison, knocked the moves as inappropriate considering the pandemic.

Meanwhile, Biden adviser Symone Sanders urged Wisconsin activists not to relax just because polls have shown the former vice president with a significant lead. She said that’s simply a reflection of the work the campaign and supporters have put in and they can’t ease up. Sanders also urged those watching to keep the effort up through Nov. 3, saying it’s unlikely when they go to bed that night that the final count will be in. Thus, she said when they go to sleep on Nov. 4, they need to make sure “there is no question in our minds that we left it all on our fields and we did the hard work.”

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