It was Joe’s turn in the spotlight.
Democrats spent three days casting the former vice president as the antidote to President Donald Trump’s America, and on Thursday night, Joe Biden personally delivered his case to the country.
Here are key moments from the evening.
Biden gets back-up from his former primary rivals
Andrew Yang, Cory Booker, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Amy Klobuchar and Pete Buttigieg joined a video chat to catch up on life since the primary ended this winter, and give their own personal testimony about their former primary foe.
Klobuchar recounted a floor speech she delivered to an empty Senate chamber, when she walked off the floor and received a complimentary call from Biden. Buttigieg recalled an Iowa campaign event when Biden offered his condolences to a Buttigieg staffer who had recently suffered a family tragedy. Warren described Biden’s sincerity when he visited Boston following the Boston Marathon bombing.
Sanders, who was Biden’s final remaining competitor in this year’s primary, contrasted the former vice president with the current occupant of the Oval Office.
“In Joe Biden, you have a human being who is empathetic, who is honest, who is decent. And at this particular moment in American history, my God, that is something that this country absolutely needs,” Sanders said, issuing a plea for a broad coalition to beat Trump. “And all of us, whether you are progressives, whether you are moderates or conservatives, have got to come together to defeat this president.”
Yang: ‘I get it’ if you voted for Trump in 2016
Yang, the businessman who shocked pundits by outlasting sitting governors and members of Congress in the Democratic primary, kicked off the final night of the convention with an “I told you so.”
“You might know me as the guy who ran for president talking about MATH and the future. Unfortunately for all of us, that future is now,” Yang began his remarks, with an allusion to the alarms he raised during his White House bid about the perils of automation. “The pandemic has accelerated everything.”
Yang, whose marquee proposal of providing Americans with a universal basic income won him both fans and eye rolls, leveled with disaffected voters with whom his campaign resonated because of his outsider status.
“I know many politicians promise and then fail to deliver. If you voted for Trump, or didn’t vote at all back in 2016, I get it,” he said.
“We despair that our government will ever rise to the challenges of our time. But we must give this country, our country, a chance to recover — and recovery is only possible with a change of leadership and new ideas,” Yang continued, arguing that former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Kamala Harris “understand the problems we face.”
Booker says his late grandfather ‘would be so proud of’ Biden and Harris
New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker said Thursday that his late grandfather “would be so proud” of Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris if he were alive today.
Booker told viewers he was only able to speak on the final night of the party’s convention because of a “union job” secured a half-century ago by his grandfather — who “left the Jim Crow South for Detroit, joined the UAW and got a job on the assembly lines during World War II.”
“He’d tell us, ‘Take another by the hand, and another, and let’s get to work. This dream ain’t free. You gotta work for it,’” Booker said.
As a presidential candidate in the Democratic primary, Booker often challenged Biden on matters of race and championed the pursuit of justice in all aspects of American life. But the senator expressed his full support for the party’s White House ticket on Thursday.
“Joe Biden and Kamala Harris know the dignity of all working Americans. They know the urgency and the demand of our dream,” he said.
Keisha Lance Bottoms invokes Atlanta’s John Lewis
Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms invoked the late Rep. John Lewis as she implored Americans to vote in November, describing the act of casting a ballot as a key component of the social justice activism championed by the civil rights legend.
“We have cried out for justice. We have gathered in our streets to demand change. And now, we must pass on the gift John Lewis sacrificed to give us. We must register, and we must vote,” Bottoms said in her prepared remarks during the Democratic National Convention.
The mayor also condemned those “who are disgracefully using this pandemic to spread misinformation and interfere with voting,” and emphasized the importance of electing “real servant leaders” like Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, who “believe that the lives of my four Black children matter.”
Bottoms has seen her political star rise in the Democratic Party amid the coronavirus pandemic and mass protests against racial injustice. She continued to lead her city through both crises despite testing positive for Covid-19 earlier this summer, and she was reportedly a contender to become Biden’s running mate.
Several other speakers at the Democrats’ convention have mentioned Lewis throughout the party’s four nights of primetime programming. The 17-term Atlanta-area congressman, who was the youngest leader of the 1963 March on Washington, died in July after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.
Duckworth calls Trump ‘coward in chief’
Illinois Sen. Tammy Duckworth on Thursday condemned Trump as a “coward in chief” who was unfit to command the nation’s military.
“Donald Trump doesn’t deserve to call himself commander in chief for another four minutes — let alone another four years,” she said in her address.
Duckworth, an Iraq War combat veteran who had both of her legs amputated after her helicopter was hit with a grenade in 2004, became a target of conservative criticism earlier this summer amid reports that she was under consideration to become Biden’s running mate.
On Thursday, Duckworth argued that Biden was particularly well-suited to assume the responsibilities of commander in chief because his late son Beau was an Army veteran who had served in Iraq.
“Joe knows the fear military families live because he’s felt that dread of never knowing if your deployed loved one is safe,” she said, adding that Biden also “would never let tyrants manipulate him like a puppet.”
Julia Louis-Dreyfus fires off barbed jokes
Comedic actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus took several jabs at conservative commentators and President Donald Trump as she emceed the final night.
In an early exchange with tech entrepreneur and former presidential candidate Andrew Yang, she referred to Vice President Mike Pence as “Meeka Pints” — nodding to Fox News host Tucker Carlson’s mispronunciation of Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris’ name.
Louis-Dreyfus also told viewers of the virtual convention that she was eager to host the event in part to remind them that Biden “not only knows how to read, but also he reads everything.” White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany memorably insisted in June that Trump “does read.”
Following a segment of programming focused on Biden’s faith, Louis-Dreyfus referenced Trump’s violent dispersal of largely peaceful protesters outside the White House in order to pose for a photo opportunity with a Bible outside a nearby church.
“Just remember,” she said, “Joe Biden goes to church so regularly that he doesn’t even need tear gas and a bunch of federalized troops to help him get there.”
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