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Cortez Masto set to speak at virtual Democratic convention

Updated August 16, 2020 - 2:36 pm

WASHINGTON — Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto and other key party dignitaries will be featured at the virtual Democratic National Convention next week where former Vice President Joe Biden is scheduled to accept the party’s presidential nomination from his home in Delaware.

Cortez Masto, who serves as the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee chairwoman, is one of several high-profile Democrats who will speak on Monday during the four-day confab featuring diverse leaders in the party supporting Biden.

The Democratic National Committee announced its slate of speakers on Tuesday, and emphasized its decision to forgo its planned convention in Wisconsin to observe health protocols due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“From the very beginning of this pandemic, we put the health and safety of the American people first,” said party Chairman Tom Perez.

“We followed the science, listened to doctors and public health experts, and we continued making adjustments to our plans in order to protect lives,” Perez said in a statement. “And that’s the leadership Joe Biden will bring to the White House.”

President Donald Trump, who will accept the GOP nomination a week later, is seeking re-election. He has called Biden a “Trojan horse for Socialism” for policy proposals on health care and energy.

Biden claims Trump mishandled the pandemic and downplayed the danger that led to the spread that has claimed thousands of lives and shattered the economy.

Four nights of speakers

The first night of Democratic speakers will underscore the diversity of the party and support for Biden.

Cortez Masto was once considered a possible vice-presidential candidate to Biden. She bowed out due to the coronavirus relief effort in Nevada, one of the most hard-hit states in the country after business closures resulted in unemployment of roughly one-third of the people in the state.

“Nevada’s Latino families have proven resilient during these challenging times of the coronavirus pandemic and economic crisis, but they should not bear the weight of an economic and public health crisis alone,” Cortez Masto said last week during a Biden teleconference event.

The Democratic convention begins Monday and will be nationally televised for two hours each night until Thursday when the nomination is accepted and Biden formally becomes Trump’s Democratic opponent.

Also speaking Monday are former first lady Michelle Obama, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., Michigan Gov. Gretchen Wilson and Gov. Andrew Cuomo, D-N.Y.

Former Trump rival

Former Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a Republican and a 2016 GOP presidential hopeful, is expected Monday to endorse Biden over Trump, who defeated Kasich and a large pool of Republican candidates for the GOP nomination in 2016.

Jill Biden, former President Bill Clinton and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, D-N.Y., are expected to speak Tuesday, along with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and former Secretary of State John Kerry.

Wednesday’s keynote address is former President Barack Obama, preceded by California Sen. Kamala Harris, Biden’s vice presidential pick. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and former Rep. Gabby Giffords, D-Ariz., a gun control advocate will also speak Wednesday.

Biden will be joined by his family on Thursday before he accepts the nomination.

Speakers that night include former primary contenders Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, and Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., a decorated military veteran who had also been on Biden’s vice presidential short list.

Contact Gary Martin at gmartin @reviewjournal.com or 202-662-7390. Follow @garymartindc on Twitter.

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