WASHINGTON – Joe Biden officially became the Democratic Party’s presidential candidate on Tuesday night after a roll call of state delegations and speeches by former President Bill Clinton and others on the second night of the Fully Democratic National Convention Virtual.
Biden will accept the nomination with a speech Thursday in Wilmington, Delaware, but official party business of his nomination was dealt with on Tuesday as representatives from the 57 states and territories rose to announce their votes in short videos, often outside iconic films. backdrops.
He appeared briefly after the call with his wife and grandchildren, who threw banners behind him. This is probably not how Biden, who has been in politics for five decades and who has planned presidential elections in almost every one of them, imagined accepting his party’s nomination.
Meanwhile, Clinton ripped apart President Donald Trump’s management of the post he once held.
Clinton said that “COVID has hit us a lot harder than we need to” because Trump ignored expert advice and spends all day “zapping people on social media” instead of trying to help them.
“At a time like this, the Oval Office should be a command center. Instead, it’s a storm center. There is only chaos, ”Clinton said. “One thing never changes – his determination to deny responsibility and throw blame. The responsibility never ends there. “
Clinton, on the other hand, said Biden would be “a president at work.”
“A down to earth guy who gets the job done. A man with a mission: to take responsibility, not to reject blame; concentrate, not distract; unite, not divide. Our pick is Joe Biden, ”Clinton told me. “You know what Donald Trump will do in four more years: blame, intimidate and belittle. And you know what Joe Biden will do: build back better. “
The two-hour program opened with an unusual opening speech.
The spot has typically been used to highlight a rising star, like Barack Obama in 2004, but Democrats used the coronavirus-mandated virtual format to feature 17 emerging Democrats who spoke in the round to hit Trump and promote Biden.
“Faced with a president of cowardice, Joe Biden is a man of proven courage. He will restore our moral compass by facing our challenges, not by hiding from them or undermining our elections to keep his post, ”said Stacey Abrams, ex-Georgia gubernatorial candidate.
Sally Yates, the Obama-appointed person who was acting attorney general in the early days of Trump’s presidency before Trump fired her, has warned that the president is “treating our country like it was his family business.”
“From the moment President Trump took office, he has used his position for himself rather than for our country. He flouted the rule of law, trying to militarize our justice ministry to attack its enemies and protect its friends, ”she said.
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Meanwhile, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York City reminded worshipers that President Biden would be able to squeeze little of his broad legislative agenda unless Democrats can reclaim the Senate. .
“America: Donald Trump gave up on you. He left on you, ”Schumer said. “But if we are to win this battle for the soul of our nation, Joe cannot do it alone. Democrats must take back the Senate. “
Clinton is one of three former presidents speaking at the convention, with Obama and Jimmy Carter contrasting with Trump. The only two surviving Republican presidents at the time, George HW Bush and George W. Bush, stayed away from the 2016 Trump convention, and young Bush’s relationship with Trump does not appear to have deteriorated. that since.
“Joe has the experience, the character, and the decency to bring us together and restore America to greatness,” Carter said. Obama will speak on Wednesday.
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Health care, the issue that helped Democrats win the House in 2018, was a major theme of the night, with an emphasis on Biden’s ‘moonshot’ plan to cure cancer and his late son’s terminal struggle. against brain cancer.
A video told the story of Ady Barkan, a health activist with ALS who protested Republican efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Now his illness confined him to a wheelchair and stole his voice, forcing him to speak through a computer voice.
“Today we are witnessing the tragic consequences of the failure of our health care system… Our loved ones are dying in unsanitary nursing homes. Our nurses are overwhelmed and unprotected, and our essential workers are treated as useless, ”he said. “We live in the richest country in history and yet we do not guarantee this most basic human right. “
Former Secretary of State John Kerry stood in front of US flags to talk about foreign policy, warning Trump “doesn’t know how to defend our troops” and that he “is breaking up with our allies and writing love letters to dictators ”.
“America deserves a president who is admired and not laughed at,” Kerry said.
A montage then showed former national security leaders warning that Trump had weakened America abroad and that his deference to Russian President Vladamir Putin was “anti-American.”
Another high-profile Republican, former Secretary of State Colin Powell, then appeared to endorse Biden.
“Joe Biden will be a president we will all be proud to salute,” said Powell. “He will trust our diplomats and our intelligence community, not the flattery of dictators and despots. “
And in a surprise, Cindy McCain, the widow of former Arizona GOP Senator John McCain, appeared in a video about the unlikely friendship between Biden and McCain. In a way, that’s another note of support for Biden from a Republican who broke with Trump. McCain, as the 2008 GOP presidential candidate, opposed the Obama-Biden ticket and later became one of Trump’s most outspoken Republican critics.
The evening was capped off by Jill Biden, who spoke live from a high school classroom in Wilmington, Delaware, where she previously taught English.
Biden, a community university professor, spoke about the impact of the coronavirus crisis on education.
And she spoke fondly of the personal tragedy her husband suffered before getting married when his first wife and one-year-old daughter were killed in a car crash – as well as the more recent tragedy in 2015, when Biden’s son Beau died of cancer.
“How to make a broken family? The same way you make a whole nation. With love and understanding – and with small acts of compassion. With bravery. With unwavering faith, ”she said.
After Beau’s death, she remembers watching her husband prepare to return to work as vice president.
“There were times when I couldn’t imagine how he was doing it – how he put one foot in front of the other and kept going,” Biden said. “But I always understood why he did it… He does it for you. “
“Joe’s purpose has always pushed him forward. His strength of will is unstoppable. And his faith is unwavering – because it is not in politicians or political parties – or even himself. It is in the providence of God. His faith is in you – in us. , ” she says.
As she concluded her remarks live, Joe Biden stepped out of the camera to kiss his wife.
“I am Joe Biden’s husband,” he said. “Just think of your favorite educator who gave you the confidence to believe in yourself – this is the kind of first lady Jill Biden will be. “
Joe Biden speaks on the last day of the Democratic convention Thursday.