Key takeaways from the second night of the Democratic convention
That’s it from us tonight. The Guardian team will be back tomorrow for the third night of the Democratic convention, when vice-presidential candidate Kamala Harris will deliver her speech.
Here are the key takeaways from the night:
- Joe Biden was formally nominated for president with an impressive virtual roll call vote. Because Democrats are not able to meet in person in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, this week, each state delegation filmed a video to cast their votes for president. The videos provided a vibrant visualization of every region in the country, and the well-received presentation raised the possibility that future conventions could retain certain elements of this year’s virtual event.
- Jill Biden offered a personal case for the election of her husband. The Biden campaign produced a moving video recounting how Jill met her future husband shortly after his first wife and his young daughter were killed in a car accident. Biden also reflected on the sorrow of losing their eldest son, Beau, to brain cancer at the age of 46. The former second lady argued that her husband’s continued commitment to public service, despite these devastating losses, underscored how he would lead the country through this moment of crisis. “How do you make a broken family whole? The same way you make a nation whole,” Biden said. “With love and understanding – and with small acts of kindness. With bravery. With unwavering faith.”
- It was an emotional night, with many moments tugging on viewers’ heartstrings. In addition to the Bidens recounting the loss of their family members, progressive activist Ady Barkan, who is has amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), made an emotional plea for expanding access to quality healthcare and described Donald Trump’s potential reelection as an “existential threat”. “We live in the richest country in history and yet we do not guarantee this most basic human right,” Barkan said. “Everyone living in America should get the healthcare they need regardless of their employment status or ability to pay.” The Biden campaign also produced a video focused on Biden’s friendship with longtime Republican senator John McCain, who died of brain cancer two years ago.
- Democrats continued their theme of highlighting Republican endorsements of Biden. Former secretary of state Colin Powell and former defense secretary Chuck Hagel both praised Biden as a leader with the necessary skills to guide the country through a global pandemic and move past the divisions of Trump’s presidency. “What a difference it will make to have a president who unites us, who restores our strength and our soul,” Powell said. The endorsements marked the latest effort by the Biden camp to appeal to centrist voters who voted for Barack Obama but flipped to supporting Trump in 2016.
- The New York congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez delivered a nominating speech for the Vermont senator Bernie Sanders, sparking some confusion on social media. By the rules of the convention, each candidate who passes a certain delegate threshold are required to be nominated and included in the roll call vote. However, some Twitter users appeared to incorrectly believe the progressive woman was trying to snub Biden by endorsing Sanders, prompting Ocasio-Cortez herself to clear up the confusion. Lesson learned: explaining complicated convention rules over Twitter is quite the headache.
The Guardian team will be back again tomorrow. Thank you for following along with our convention coverage tonight.
Tonight’s musical outro came from John Legend. Here’s the full clip, in case you missed it:
– Maanvi Singh
Tonight, Sally Yates, Bill Clinton and Chuck Schumer all echoed Michelle Obama’s most memorable condemnation of Donald Trump yesterday: “It is what it is”.
The Democrats’ indictment of Trump uses the president’s own words against him. “A thousand Americans are dying a day,” Jonathan Swan of Axios said during a recent interview with Trump.
“They are dying. That’s true. And you – it is what it is,” he responded. “But that doesn’t mean we aren’t doing everything we can. It’s under control as much as you can control it.”
“President Lincoln, honoring the great sacrifice at Gettysburg, didn’t say ‘It is what it is.’ President Roosevelt, seeing a third of the nation ill-housed, ill-clad, and ill-nourished, didn’t say ‘It is what it is.’ America, Donald Trump has quit on you,” Schumer said.
– Maanvi Singh
Shortly after delivering her nomination speech for Bernie Sanders, progressive congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez took to Instagram Live to encourage her supporters to rally around Joe Biden in November.
However, Ocasio-Cortez also made clear that progressives should continue their fight for Medicare for All and tuition-free public college, among other initiatives.
“The moment that Joe Biden is elected, we continue our fight for guaranteed healthcare. We continue our fight for living wages,” Ocasio-Cortez said.
Republican candidate barred from Twitter for hate speech wins Republican nomination for congress
While the DNC tonight had focused on the presidential election – Democrats will also face off against Republicans in many down-ballot races across the US. One of those is the congressional race in Palm Beach, Florida district where Donald Trump is registered to vote. The district is expected to favor Democratic incumbent Lois Frankel.
Nonetheless, Trump, tonight touted Laura Loomer, the rightwing commentator who was banned from Twitter and Facebook for hate speech against Minnesota Democratic representative Ilhan Omar, who just won the Republican nomination there.
– Maanvi Singh
After Jill Biden finished her speech tonight, Joe Biden joined her on screen to offer some kind words about what a wonderful first lady she would be.
But some convention viewers noted that sweet moment got off to an awkward start, with Biden’s hand getting caught in the ear loops of her husband’s face mask.
Today, Joe Biden accepted the nomination that he first sought more than three decades ago.
Biden’s first bid for the presidency, in the 80s, came to an end after a plagiarism scandal, after it was revealed that he pilfered parts of his closing arguments in debate from a British Labour party politician.
– Maanvi Singh
Tomorrow night, Elizabeth Warren and Nancy Pelosi will speak, Kamala Harris will formally accept the vice-presidential nomination and Barack Obama will deliver the keynote address.
You can find the full schedule here.
Now here’s more about that calamari cameo ...
The Providence Journal interviewed Joseph McNamara, the man lucky enough to appear alongside the calamari tonight and speak on behalf of Rhode Island’s delegates:
“It’s tough for any elected official to say anything in 30 seconds,” said McNamara, who as a state representative from Warwick championed declaring calamari the official “state appetizer.”
That, in part, explains why McNamara used his 30 seconds to give the state’s fishing industry — and the squid, in particular — a plug.
Filmed on Oakland Beach in Warwick, behind Iggy’s Boardwalk with executive chef John Bordieri close by, holding a plate of calamari, the Rhode Island story McNamara told began with the potential decimation of the state’s fishing industry in the spring, when the state closed restaurants to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
Prices dropped dramatically. In some cases, wholesalers stopped buying, and fishermen had no place to sell their catch.
To help fishermen navigate this storm, the state temporarily changed some regulations to allow them to peddle their catches directly to consumers, fish markets and restaurants, instead of selling exclusively to wholesalers.
Through an emergency regulation on April 17, the state created a direct-sale dealer license for Rhode Island fishermen.
McNamara said: “It is a story of adapting ... [and] using innovation during the pandemic to help businesses and industries.”
As a result of state marketing efforts, he said, “Rhode Island-style calamari″ is now sold in restaurants nationwide as an “upscale” appetizer which, in turn, has translated into a $60-million-a-year industry.
Joseph McNamara is the state’s Democratic party chairman.
– Maanvi Singh
At the beginning of tonight’s roll call vote to formally nominate the Democratic candidate for president, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez referenced the “wounds of racial injustice, colonization, misogyny, and homophobia” that the US must work to heal.
As delegates from across the country cast their votes, the country’s legacy of colonialism was spotlighted as representatives from American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands appeared on the screen.
The five territories combined have allocated 151 delegates altogether. The US citizens in these territories will not be eligible to cast their votes for president in November.
American Samoans, who are considered “nationals” rather than full citizens, nonetheless pay into federal benefit programs. In the other territories, residents are considered citizens but don’t have the right to vote for president and are not represented in Congress. In the 1900s, the supreme court justified American occupation without representation by holding that the islands are “inhabited by alien races, differing from us in religion, customs, laws, methods of taxation, and modes of thought”.
– Maanvi Singh
Even Republicans are taking a moment to commend Jill Biden after the former second lady’s convention speech tonight.
Republican senator Lindsey Graham, a close ally to the president, said in a tweet: “Tonight, Jill Biden did a very good job representing herself and Joe in the causes they believe in. She’s an outstanding person who has led a consequential life.”
Conservative commentator Erick Erickson also applauded Biden for the work she has done to help military families.
Former President Barack Obama congratulated Joe Biden of formally receiving the Democratic presidential nominee.
“Congrats, Joe. I’m proud of you,” Obama said in a tweet.
Biden’s accomplishment comes 12 years after Obama first accepted the Democratic nomination and named Biden as his running mate.
Second night of Democratic convention concludes
The second night of the virtual Democratic convention has now concluded, but the blog will have more reactions and analysis coming, so stay tuned.
“After our son Beau died of cancer, I wondered if I would ever smile or feel joy again,” Jill Biden said. “It was summer but there was no warmth left for me.”
She praised her husband’s resolve to continue working after the loss. “Four days after Beau’s funeral, I watched Joe shave and put on his suit. I saw him steel himself in the mirror, take a breath, put his shoulders back and walk out into a world empty of our son. He went back to work. That’s just who he is.”
– Maanvi Singh
Jill Biden says her husband will provide 'leadership worthy of this nation'
Jill Biden said her husband, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, would provide “leadership worthy of this nation”.
“Worthy of you,” she told the Americans watching the virtual convention.
She promised that her husband’s election would ensure that classrooms would “ring out with laughter and possibility once again”.
“The burdens we carry are heavy, and we need someone with strong shoulders,” she said.
The former second lady promised a President Biden would “bring us together and make us whole, carry us forward in our time of need, keep the promise of America for all of us”.
Jill Biden addresses Democratic convention
Former second lady Jill Biden is now delivering her convention speech in support of her husband, Democratic nominee Joe Biden.
Biden delivered her speech from a Delaware school where she used to teach English, and she used the setting to underscore the uncertainty surrounding schools amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“This quiet is heavy,” Biden said as she moved through the school. “You can hear the anxiety that echoes down empty hallways.”
As the wife of a career politician – this is Joe Biden’s third run for president – Jill Biden has often found herself in a tricky position, asked to defend her husband’s record.
This campaign cycle, she was asked to answer for her husband’s behavior during the Anita Hill hearings in 1991. “I watched the hearings like most other Americans, and so I mean, Joe said, as I did, we believed Anita Hill. He voted against Clarence Thomas. I mean, he’s called Anita Hill, they’ve spoken. He apologized for the way the hearings were run. And so now it’s – it’s time to move on,” she said in an NPR interview last year.
She’s been asked about how her husband has made women uncomfortable by touching them. For that as well, she has an answer.
“You know, I’ve been married to Joe for 42 years, and I’ve seen how he interacts with people – but times have changed,” she told Vogue magazine. “And he’s said, you know, ‘I’m going to take responsibility for this, I hear this,’ and he’s much more aware of how he interacts with people now.”
Journalists and political commentators have noted that she has been her husband’s fiercest defender on the campaign trail. Sometimes that’s meant literally.
When a protester rushed Joe Biden while he was delivering a campaign speech in early March, Jill Biden intercepted to protect her husband, while Biden’s senior adviser Symone Sanders carried the woman off stage.
– Maanvi Singh
Cindy McCain, the widow of Senator John McCain, was featured in a video describing the friendship between her late husband and Joe Biden.
“It was a friendship that shouldn’t have worked,” the video began, before going on to describe the camaraderie between the two longtime senators.
After the video played, Biden tweeted: “John McCain was a good man, and a good friend. He made this country better. I miss him dearly.”
Jill Biden – tonight's keynote speaker – is introduced
Dr Jill Biden is expected to speak in moments.
Jill Biden, who is Joe Biden’s wife of 43 years, is one of her husband’s closest advisers and his primary campaign surrogate, though she has said she never aspired to be in politics, let alone become a first lady. “I say that I’m apolitical – if that’s at all possible being married to Joe for 30 years,” she told NPR in 2008, the last time her husband ran for president.
An educator who has taught writing in high school and community colleges, Jill Biden has a doctorate in education – and maintained a teaching job though Joe Biden’s term as vice-president. She’s an advocate for military families, and for public education – championing community colleges in particular as “one of America’s best-kept secrets”.
When she met Joe Biden, in 1975, the two were introduced by his brother. Joe Biden was a Delaware senator at the time, and Jill was finishing her college degree at the University of Delaware.
Joe Biden was mourning the loss of his first wife, Neilia, and their one-year-old daughter, Naomi, who died in a car accident three years back. He was raising his two sons, Hunter and Beau, as a single father.
After they met, “[Jill] gave me back my life”, Joe Biden wrote in his memoir Promises to Keep. “She made me start to think my family might be whole again.”
– Maanvi Singh
Colin Powell endorses Biden
Former secretary of state Colin Powell endorsed Joe Biden’s presidential bid, becoming one of the most prominent Republicans to do so.
“Today, we are a country divided, and we have a president doing everything in his power to make it that way and keep us that way,” Powell said in his video for the Democratic convention.
“What a difference it will make to have a president who unites us, who restores our strength and our soul.”
Powell’s endorsement is the latest attempt by the Biden campaign to reach out to centrist voters who supported Barack Obama before flipping to Trump in 2016.
The delegates casting votes for Wyoming were Judy and Dennis Shepard, the parents of Matthew Shepard, a gay college student whose murder prompted the passage of a landmark law that expanded the definition of violent hate crimes.
The Shepards have been deeply critical of the Trump administration for failing to protect LGBTQ+ rights. They thanked Biden today for “his passion for social justice & his bottomless compassion for others”.
– Maanvi Singh
One of the defining features of the DNC so far has been its outreach to anti-Trump Republicans. Last night we had John Kasich and Meg Whitman, and tonight we have Colin Powell.
This hasn’t gone down too well with some Democrats, especially those who are more on the progressive and anti-war sides of the party (Colin Powell was George Bush’s secretary of state and helped build the case for the invasion of Iraq).
Here’s how some critics have been responding:
Meanwhile, the Onion has done it again, with this biting commentary on Powell’s appearance.
Former secretary of state John Kerry criticized Trump as an embarrassment on the global stage in his convention speech.
“When this president goes overseas, it isn’t a goodwill mission,” Kerry said. “It’s a blooper reel. He breaks up with our allies and writes love letters to dictators. America deserves a president who is looked up to, not laughed at.”
Kerry, who endorsed Joe Biden early in the primary cycle, contrasted Trump’s foreign policy agenda with that of a Biden administration.
“Our troops can’t get out of harm’s way by hiding in the White House bunker,” Kerry said. “They need a president who will stand up for them. And President Biden will.”
Activist Ady Barkan addresses Democratic convention
Progressive activist Ady Barkan, who is dying of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, addressed the Democratic convention and demanded access to quality healthcare for all Americans.
“We live in the richest country in history and yet we do not guarantee this most basic human right,” said Barkan. “Everyone living in America should get the healthcare they need regardless of their employment status or ability to pay.”
Barkan, who has lost his voice because of ALS and has testified before Congress using eye movements, urged Americans to vote for Joe Biden in order to avoid the “existential threat of another four years of this president”.
“Even during this terrible crisis, Donald Trump and Republican politicians are trying to take away millions of people’s health insurance,” Barkan said.
“We must elect Joe Biden. Each of us must be a hero for our communities, for our country, and then, with a compassionate and intelligent president, we must act together and put on his desk a bill that guarantees us all the healthcare we deserve.”
In what must be a first in the history of the DNC, a plate of calamari has made a star turn, making an appearance in the Rhode Island part of the roll call. They even called themselves “the calamari comeback state of Rhode Island”.
The delegate casting the votes for Virginia is Khizr Khan, whose son, army captain Humayun Khan, died serving in the Iraq war.
Speaking at the Democratic national convention in 2016 with his wife, Ghazala, Kahn delivered one of the most memorable moments of that election cycle: he took a copy of the constitution that he kept in his jacket pocket, held it up and addressed Donald Trump: “Let me ask you, have you even read the United States constitution? I will gladly lend you my copy. In this document, look for the words ‘liberty’ and ‘equal protection of law’.”
The comments from Kahn, who is Muslim and Pakistani American, came after Trump made xenophobic comments linking American Muslims to terrorists and calling for a ban on Muslim immigration.
Kahn spoke from Charlottesville, the site of a neo-Nazi, white supremacist rally in 2017 where a counter-protester was killed. Donald Trump said that there were “very fine people on both sides”.
Biden said he decided to run for president after that rally. “When those folks came out of the fields carrying those torches, chanting the antisemitic bile and their veins bulging, accompanied by the Ku Klux Klan, with such ugliness … I never thought I’d see something like that again in my life. That’s when I decided,” Biden told supporters last year.
– Maanvi Singh
Joe Biden, a three-time presidential candidate, is officially the Democratic presidential nominee – more than three decades after his first White House bid.
“It is the honor of my life to accept the Democratic Party’s nomination for President of the United States of America,” Biden said in a tweet.
The formal nomination of Biden underscored what an unprecedented convention this is. Every state delegation cast their votes remotely, and Biden briefly thanked his supporters via livestream.
Meanwhile, vice-presidential candidate Kamala Harris, who would otherwise be celebrating Biden’s nomination in Milwaukee right now, watched the roll call vote from her couch.
After the roll call concluded, the convention briefly turned to Joe Biden, who thanked his supporters for nominating him.
“It means the world to me and my family, and I’ll see you on Thursday,” Biden said.
The Democratic nominee and his family celebrated his achievement with streamers and a dozen or so balloons.
It was far from the massive balloon drop that Biden would have enjoyed if the Democrats were able to hold their convention in person, but it added a bit of pageantry to the virtual event.
The Delaware delegation initially passed on casting its votes, but the roll call later returned to Delaware senator Tom Carper and Delaware’s governor John Carney to close out the formal nomination of Joe Biden.
Speaking from the Joseph R Biden train station in Wilmington, Delaware, Carney praised Biden for spending decades “delivering for families like his own”.
Carper, who served alongside Biden in the Senate, described him as “a leader made for this moment and the finest public servant I have ever known”.
The two lawmakers then cast their votes for “our friend, Delaware’s Joe Biden”.
The roll call votes from delegates across the US are giving a lot of us who are isolating due to the pandemic some serious wanderlust.
This reporter is all about the “calamari comeback state of Rhode Island” – looks lovely!
– Maanvi Singh
Democrats formally nominate Biden for president
With an unprecedented roll call vote, Democrats have formally nominated Joe Biden for president.
Because of the virtual nature of the convention, delegates were not able to gather in Milwaukee to cast their votes.
Instead, each state delegation filmed a video casting their votes for Biden and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders.
The roll call is still ongoing, but Biden has already surpassed the threshold of 2,374 delegates needed to capture the nomination.
If you were confused by AOC’s seconding of Bernie Sanders’ nomination, worry not – she’s explained what it all means via Twitter:
Ocasio-Cortez, like so many progressives, traces her political awakening to Sanders 2016 presidential campaign, where she worked as an organizer. A self-described democratic socialist, Ocasio-Cortez was elected to Congress in 2018, unseating the fourth-ranking House Democrat.
Since her shocking victory, she has helped organize and raise money for progressive challengers around the country, including Jamaal Bowman who won the Democratic primary this year, knocking off a 16-term incumbent in a deep-blue New York district.
Many progressives were furious that Ocasio-Cortez, widely viewed as the leader of a next generation of Democrats, was only allotted one minute to speak, while ample time was devoted on Monday night to Republican defectors, including former Ohio governor John Kasich, a staunch opponent of abortion.
Yet her invitation was a testament to influence within the party, rare for a first-term member of Congress.
Ocasio-Cortez, who endorsed Sanders in the primary, giving his campaign a much needed jolt in the uncertain days after the senator’s heart attack, has been critical of Biden’s establishment-minded approach to governing. In an interview last year, she mused that in another country, they would not belong to the same party.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s nominating speech for Bernie Sanders was a virtual passing of the torch. Sanders briefly led the primary contest earlier this year before falling impossibly behind Biden as fear of the coronavirus began to spread across the US.
Sanders, who nearly eked out a victory in the Iowa caucuses, and then went on to win primary contests in New Hampshire, and Nevada before sweeping California on Super Tuesday, is expected to receive about 1,000 delegates.
In the same way Sanders popularized Medicare for all, she has championed the Green New Deal – both turning the issue into a rallying cry for young Democrats and an easy line of attack for Republicans. Climate is one of the key areas in which Biden has moved left, and she was included in the Biden-Sanders unity taskforces, created to forge a policy consensus between the often-warning progressive and moderate wings of the Democratic party.
Addressing his supporters on Monday, Sanders said their movement had “moved this country in a bold new direction” but he was unequivocal in his endorsement of Biden, warning that the stakes were too high to stay home.
“The future of our democracy is at stake,” he said.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is without a doubt the most exciting rising star in the Democratic party. But her brief speaking slot, which was spent reiterating her support for Bernie Sanders, was all we’ll be seeing of her at the DNC, and many of her admirers aren’t happy:
Ocasio-Cortez was there to second Sanders’ nomination, which is a procedural quirk of the convention that forms part of the roll call. But some viewers have misunderstood her speech, and think she’s suddenly flipped back to Sanders to sabotage Biden. Just to be clear: this isn’t the case.
Jacquelyn Brittany, a 31-year-old woman who first met Joe Biden when she escorted him in an elevator to a New York Times meeting in December, was the first the put his name forward in the formal nomination process.
In an NYT video, she blurted out “I love you” to Biden and took a selfie with him.
“Once he came in, he was just genuinely, genuinely nice to people. We don’t get that from everybody,” she recalled to the Washington Post, speaking about her initial interaction with Biden.
On her role in the DNC, she said: “I never thought I would be in a position to do this. I never thought I was worthy enough to do this.”
– Maanvi Singh
New York City elevator operator officially nominates Biden
Jacqueline Brittany, the New York City elevator operator who met Joe Biden during the Democratic primary, was the first person to officially nominate him at the convention.
The video of Brittany meeting Biden and getting her photo taken with him went viral earlier this year.
“In the short time I spent with Joe Biden, I could tell he really saw me,” Brittany said. “I nominate my friend, Joe Biden, as the next president.”
The nomination was seconded by the Delaware senator Chris Coons and the Delaware congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester.
AOC praises Sanders' presidential campaign in nominating speech
Bob King, the former president of the United Auto Workers, and congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez delivered the nominating speeches for the Vermont senator Bernie Sanders before the convention formally nominated Joe Biden.
King praised Sanders, who won several primary contests but ultimately fell short of the nomination, as “a great champion of the working class”.
Ocasio-Cortez, who worked on Sanders’ 2016 campaign before joining Congress, said he had “organized a historic, grassroots campaign to restore our democracy”.
Bill Clinton’s appearance at the DNC tonight hasn’t been well received among some of his critics on both the left and right. It comes only a few hours after new photos revealed of him receiving a neck massage from one of Jeffrey Epstein’s personal massage therapists, who was a victim of the disgraced financier’s sexual abuse.
Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton offer endorsements of Biden
Two former Democratic presidents, Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, have just offered their endorsements of Joe Biden.
In an audio-only address, Carter said Biden would ensure the country expands coronavirus testing and mask requirements to limit the spread of the virus.
“Joe Biden must be our next president,” Carter said.
Like Michelle Obama and Chuck Schumer, Clinton referenced Trump’s “It is what it is” quote to argue the president has downplayed the loss of 170,000 Americans to coronavirus.
“Covid hit us much harder than it had to,” Clinton said, blaming Trump’s leadership for the extent of the pandemic’s devastation.
Clinton said that if Trump were reelected, he would only “blame, bully and belittle” for another four years, while Biden will “build back better.”
Hi there, it’s Maanvi here – chiming in.
One notable moment from Sally Yates’ address: she clearly referred to Donald Trump’s travel ban – which she defied as acting attorney general – as a “Muslim travel ban”.
Trump’s supporters, and the supreme court – which upheld the president’s ban on travel from several predominantly Muslim countries – have maintained that the ban is in the interest of national security and insisted that such a justification for the ban shouldn’t be undermined by the president’s racist and xenophobic statements about Muslims.
Schumer: 'America, Donald Trump has quit on you'
The Senate minority leader, Chuck Schumer, delivered a harsh rebuke of Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
Echoing Michelle Obama’s speech last night, Schumer criticized Trump for previously saying of the country’s coronavirus death toll “it is what it is”.
“America, Donald Trump has quit on you,” Schumer said.
The New York senator argued Trump’s inadequate response to the crisis underscored the need to elect a president with the experience and abilities to lead the country.
“That man is my friend, Joe Biden,” Schumer said.
The Senate leader also pledged Democrats would take back control of the chamber and enact “bold and dramatic change to our country”.
Yates criticizes Trump's 'relentless attacks' on democratic values
Former acting attorney general Sally Yates, who served under Democratic and Republican administrations, opened her speech by noting she never expected to address a political convention.
Yates, who gained prominence after she was fired for refusing to defend Trump’s executive order banning travel from several predominantly Muslim countries, said the president’s “relentless attacks on our democratic institutions” should alarm every American.
“We need a president who respects our laws and the privilege of public service,” Yates said. “We need Joe Biden.”
Actor Tracee Ellis Ross praised the rising stars’ keynote address and argued this moment represented a turning point for the Democratic party.
Ross said Black woman had served as the backbone of the party for decades “without being acknowledged or valued”.
“But we are turning the tide,” Ross said. “Hello, Kamala.”
Vice-presidential candidate Kamala Harris is the first Black woman and the first Asian American to join a major party’s presidential ticket.
17 rising stars deliver keynote address
The second night of the Democratic convention kicked off with a keynote speech from 17 of the party’s rising stars.
Former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, Texas congressman Colin Allred and Navajo Nation president Jonathan Nez, among others, offered criticism of Trump’s response to the coronavirus pandemic and praise for Joe Biden.
“This nation belongs to all of us,” Abrams said. “This year’s choice could not be more clear.”
Abrams warned that the country faced a “triple threat” of the coronavirus pandemic, a suffering economy and widespread racial injustice.
“We know Joe Biden. America, we need Joe Biden,” Abrams said. “We stand with Joe Biden.”
Second night of virtual Democratic convention begins
The second night of the virtual Democratic convention has now started, with a virtual recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance and a video looking back at past keynote addresses.
Former acting attorney general Sally Yates will also speak tonight, three and a half years after Trump fired her for refusing to defend his executive order banning travel from several predominantly Muslim countries.
According to excerpts of her remarks released by the DNC, Yates will use her convention speech to accuse Trump of politicizing the justice department.
“Public servants promise to defend our constitution. Uphold our laws. And work on behalf of the American people. But from the moment President Trump took office, he has used his position to benefit himself rather than our country,” Yates will say.
“He’s trampled the rule of law, trying to weaponize our justice department to attack his enemies and protect his friends ...
“We need a president who respects our laws and the privilege of public service. Who reflects our values and cares about our people. We need a president who will restore the soul of America.”
Jill Biden will address the Democratic convention tonight, and the former second lady (and potential future first lady) will point to her husband’s personal losses to demonstrate his commitment to the country.
Excerpts released by the DNC indicate Biden will specifically reference the deaths of her husband’s first wife and one-year-old daughter in 1972.
“How do you make a broken family whole? The same way you make a nation whole. With love and understanding – and with small acts of compassion. With bravery. With unwavering faith,” Biden will say.
“There are times when I couldn’t imagine how he did it – how he put one foot in front of the other and kept going. But I’ve always understood why he did it ... He does it for you.”
Democrats will formally nominate Joe Biden for president tonight, elevating a historic ticket that includes his vice-presidential running mate, Kamala Harris, who is the first black woman and first Asian American to be nominated for national office by a major party.
A roll call of the states, reimagined for the Covid-19 era, will officially make Biden the Democratic standard-bearer for the November election, the culmination of a quest that began in 1988, when he first ran for president.
If the opening night was intended as a show of unity from unlikely political bedfellows aligned against the president, the speakers tonight will present the Democrats as a forward-looking, big-tent party that has always been at the vanguard of social progress.
Breaking with tradition, the evening will begin not with a single keynote speaker designated a Democratic rising star, but with 17. The mash-up of what the organizers called the “next generation of party leaders” is intended to reflect the racial and ideological diversity of a party increasingly led by women and people of color.
Among those who will speak are Stacey Abrams, the 2018 Democratic nominee for governor in Georgia who was considered a potential vice-presidential running mate; the Texas congressman Colin Allred, who flipped a Republican-held seat in 2018; Jonathan Nez, president of the Navajo Nation, and Robert Garcia, the mayor of Long Beach, California, who immigrated to the US from Peru as a child.
Colin Powell to endorse Biden on second night of Democratic convention
Hello, live blog readers, and welcome to the second night of the virtual Democratic convention.
Democrats kicked off their nominating convention last night with a memorable and widely praised speech by Michelle Obama, who warned Americans about the dangers of re-electing Donald Trump in November.
Tonight’s events include another round of speeches from prominent Democrats, including the New York congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, former president Bill Clinton and former second lady Jill Biden.
Democratic candidate Joe Biden will also receive another endorsement from a high-profile Republican tonight. The Democratic National Committee has just released a video of former secretary of state Colin Powell endorsing Biden’s presidential bid.
In the video, Powell says: “The values I learned growing up in the South Bronx and serving in uniform, were the same values that Joe Biden’s parents instilled in him in Scranton, Pennsylvania.
“I support Joe Biden for the presidency of the United States because those values still define him, and we need to restore those values to the White House.”
This is not the first time Powell has supported a Democrat, as he publicly endorsed Barack Obama’s bids in 2008 and 2012 and voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016.
However, the endorsements of Powell and other well-known conservatives could sway centrist Republicans who supported Trump in 2016, and that should alarm the president.