Michelle Obama attacked Donald Trump on Monday night as ‘the wrong president for our country’ and ‘clearly in over his head’ in her first foray into the 2020 election.
The former first lady did not mince words when she closed out the opening night of the Democratic National Convention, giving her harshest assessment yet of the man who followed her husband into the Oval Office.
‘Donald Trump is the wrong president for our country. He has had more than enough time to prove that he can do the job, but he is clearly in over his head. He cannot meet this moment. He simply cannot be who we need him to be for us. It is what it is,’ she said.
It was a rare political punch from Michelle Obama, who typically stays out of the fray. She didn’t campaign in the 2018 election and had thus far limited her participation this year to encouraging people to vote.
But, on Monday, she made it clear she wants Trump out of office, warning things will just get worse if he’s re-elected.
‘So if you take one thing from my words tonight, it is this: if you think things cannot possibly get worse, trust me, they can; and they will if we don’t make a change in this election,’ she said.
Michelle Obama attacked Donald Trump ‘the wrong president for our country’ and ‘clearly in over his head’ in her speech to the Democratic National Convention
The former first lady’s speech touched on fears President Trump would not see the election as legitimate if Joe Biden wins
Michelle Obama wrapped up her remarks with a passionate plea for Joe Biden’s candidacy
The former first lady’s speech, which was pre-taped at the Obamas’ Martha Vineyard home, is expected to be the second most-watched speech of the virtual convention, after Biden. It marked her first campaign appearance for her husband’s vice president.
Missing was any reference to Kamala Harris, Biden’s running mate, with sources saying it was taped before her announcement, and when 150,000 Americans had died of coronavirus; the number now stands above 170,000.
Obama’s speech handed the Democrats a rallying-cry to her husband’s voting coalition, as well as a made-for-social media series of soundbites – and was barely addressed by Trump as he tweeted a string of attacks on Andrew Cuomo instead.
She used her time to encourage people to vote, to attack President Trump and tout Biden’s candidacy. Her tone was the warm, friendly mom-in-chief tone she cultivated when she was first lady.
She used a delivery that combined that mom approach with a girlfriend’s guide to politics – but which made crystal clear what she wanted those watching to do: a Biden for president campaign sign was visible behind the former first lady during her remarks. And she wore a silver necklace that spelled out V-O-T-E.
‘Whenever we look to this White House for some leadership or consolation or any semblance of steadiness, what we get instead is chaos, division, and a total and utter lack of empathy,’ she said of President Trump.
She wrapped up her nearly 20 minute address with a passionate plea for Joe Biden’s candidacy.
‘If we have any hope of ending this chaos, we have got to vote for Joe Biden like our lives depend on it. I know Joe. He is a profoundly decent man, guided by faith. He was a terrific vice president. He knows what it takes to rescue an economy, beat back a pandemic, and lead our country. And he listens. He will tell the truth and trust science. He will make smart plans and manage a good team. And he will govern as someone who’s lived a life that the rest of us can recognize,’ she said.
She also touched on Democratic fears that President Trump would try to delegitimize the election should Biden win.
‘We have to vote for Joe Biden in numbers that cannot be ignored. Because right now, folks who know they cannot win fair and square at the ballot box are doing everything they can to stop us from voting,’ she said.
President Trump has railed against the mail-in voting options many voters are expected to use during the coroanvirus pandemic, falsely claiming it leads to voter fraud when many studies show it does not.
Democrats fear he would not hand over the White House if Biden wins in November.
‘The only way we lose this election is if this election is rigged,’ Trump told supporters in Wisconsin on Monday.
Michelle Obama wore a silver necklace that spelled out V-O-T-E
A person watches Michelle Obama’s speech, which was expected to be the second most watched speech of the convention after Joe Biden’s
Michelle Obama emphasized the importance of voting at multiple points during her speech.
‘Four years ago, too many people chose to believe that their votes didn’t matter. Maybe they were fed up. Maybe they thought the outcome wouldn’t be close. Maybe the barriers felt too steep,’ she said.
‘Whatever the reason, in the end, those choices sent someone to the Oval Office who lost the national popular vote by nearly 3,000,000 votes. In one of the states that determined the outcome, the winning margin averaged out to just two votes per precinct—two votes. And we’ve all been living with the consequences.’
She urged people to fill out their form for a mail-in ballot immediately.
‘This is not the time to withhold our votes in protest or play games with candidates who have no chance of winning. We have got to vote like we did in 2008 and 2012. We’ve got to show up with the same level of passion and hope for Joe Biden,’ she said.
‘We’ve got to vote early, in person if we can. We’ve got to request our mail-in ballots right now, tonight, and send them back immediately and follow-up to make sure they’re received. And then, make sure our friends and families do the same,’ she added.
She told people to put on their comfy shoes and stand in line all night if they had too.
‘We have got to grab our comfortable shoes, put on our masks, pack a brown bag dinner and maybe breakfast too, because we’ve got to be willing to stand in line all night if we have to,’ Michelle Obama said.
Michelle Obama is the keynote speaker for Monday night’s Democratic National Convention; her speech was pretaped at the Obama family’s Martha’s Vineyard home
Michelle Obama made a personal plea for Joe Biden, describing the man she knows – the former first lady and Biden are seen together above at March 2011 reception at the White House
She painted a picture of the world her two daughters – Sasha and Malia – lived in under President Trump’s tenure.
‘They see people shouting in grocery stores, unwilling to wear a mask to keep us all safe. They see people calling the police on folks minding their own business just because of the color of their skin. They see an entitlement that says only certain people belong here, that greed is good, and winning is everything because as long as you come out on top, it doesn’t matter what happens to everyone else,’ she said.
She bemoaned the lack of empathy among people.
‘And they see what happens when that lack of empathy is ginned up into outright disdain. They see our leaders labeling fellow citizens enemies of the state while emboldening torch-bearing white supremacists. They watch in horror as children are torn from their families and thrown into cages, and pepper spray and rubber bullets are used on peaceful protestors for a photo-op,’ she said.
Michelle Obama also reference her famous quote from her 2016 convention speech, when she advised Democrats: ‘When they go low, we go high.’
‘Over the past four years, a lot of people have asked me, “When others are going so low, does going high still really work?” My answer: going high is the only thing that works, because when we go low, when we use those same tactics of degrading and dehumanizing others, we just become part of the ugly noise that’s drowning out everything else. We degrade ourselves.’ she said.
But she acknowledged going high is the ‘harder path.’
‘We degrade the very causes for which we fight. But let’s be clear: going high does not mean putting on a smile and saying nice things when confronted by viciousness and cruelty. Going high means taking the harder path. It means scraping and clawing our way to that mountain top. Going high means standing fierce against hatred,’ she added.
President Trump, earlier Monday, called the first night of the Democrats’ program boring, trying to set low expectations for the first virtual convention.
‘You want to go to a snooze?’ he asked supporters in Minnesota Monday.
He specifically mentioned Michelle Obama’s forthcoming address.
‘You know I noticed that their convention tonight, these are all taped speeches. Michelle Obama’s speech is taped,’ Trump said. ‘Why don’t they tell me that? I’ll tape my speech next week. It’s a lot easier.’
Trump will accept his party’s nomination next Thursday, a week after the Democratic National Convention concludes.
‘I’ll make sure it’s perfecto, every word will be perfect,’ the president went on.
Trump traveled to Minnesota and Wisconsin on Monday, with more trips planned for later next week, as part of his counter programming to Biden’s coronation as the party’s presidential nominee.
He did not tweet about Michelle Obama’s remarks in the immediate aftermath of them but did launch a Twitter tirade against New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who, in his convention speech, harshly criticized the president’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Democrats have largely scrapped an in-person convention and will instead produce two hours of programming for the next four nights that will culminate with Biden accepting the Democratic nomination in his adopted hometown of Wilmington, Delaware.
Republicans also are planning a mostly virtual event when their convention begins next Monday.
Michelle Obama ended the first night of the Democrats’ online gathering where the theme was ‘We the People.’
The former first lady followed a mix of speakers that addressed a host of topics: racial injustice with a speech from Washington D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, Philonise Floyd, and Democratic Congressman James Clyburn of South Carolina; the COVID pandemic with a speech from New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer; and putting people over party with speeches from Republican politicians former New Jersey Governor Christine Todd Whitman, former Congresswoman Susan Molinari, former Hewitt Packard CEO Meg Whitman and former Ohio Gov. John Kasich.
Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders spoke right before Obama, pleading to the progressive wing of the party to come together behind Biden.
Actress Eva Longoria kicked off the Democratic National Convention Monday night and acted as host of the evening
Biden’s grandchildren led the Pledge of Allegiance. From left to right: Finnegan Biden, Hunter Biden, Natalie Biden, Naomi Biden, Maisy Biden
Actress Eva Longoria acted as host for the evening, introducing the speakers and segments.
The night’s imagery included Biden and his family along with a diversity of Americans of all races and gender designed to show the inclusiveness and diversity in the Democratic Party. It was part of the ‘We the People’ theme of the evening.
Family was included early on when the Pledge of Allegiance was led by Biden’s grandchildren: Natalie, Finnegan, Maisey, Robert, and Naomi.
‘I can assure you, that was not the first take!,’ Naomi Biden wrote on Twitter after their appearance. Most of the programming in the convention is pre-taped.
The Biden grandchildren were followed by a children’s choir singing the national anthem. The choir consisted of child from each state, wearing either a red, white or blue t-shirt, joining in singing ‘The Star Spangled Banner’ including a chorus of images filled the screen, dissolving into the stars on the flag.
Also joining the convention on its first night was legendary singer Bruce Springsteen, whose songs chronicle the struggles of the American middle class, a crucial voting bloc in this year’s election.
A montage of images set to Springsteen’s ‘The Rising’ included empty sporting arenas, President Trump holding up a bible in front of St. John’s church, demonstrators in celebration of the Black Lives Matters movement, and people wearing face masks.
‘His only pre-existing condition was trusting Donald Trump.’ Daughter who lost her Trump-voter father to COVID slams president and accuses him of causing 65-year-old’s death
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo attacked Donald Trump for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic and was followed by a young woman who launched a passionate attack on the president, blaming him for her father’s death from COVID.
‘My dad was a healthy 65-year-old. His only pre-existing condition was trusting Donald Trump and for that he paid with his life,’ Kristin Urquiza said during her speech at the Democratic National Convention on Monday.
In the first night of the Democrats’ virtual gathering, the party brought together faces from the coronavirus to attack the president in one of his weakest areas with American voters.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo attacked President Donald Trump for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic during his speech at the Democratic National Convention
Kristin Urquiza blamed President Trump for the death of her father from COVID
‘Our nation is in crisis,’ Cuomo declared in his five minute speech.
He compared the pandemic’s effect on America to the current state of the nation’s politics.
‘In many ways COVID is just a metaphor, a virus attacks when the body is weak and when it cannot defend itself. Over these past few years, America’s body politic has been weakened; the divisions have been growing deeper,’ he said.
While Cuomo’s remarks focused on politics, it was Urquiza’s personal remarks that tugged at the heart chords.
She recounted how her father, Mark Anthony Urquiza, followed the advice of politicians about the pandemic and then contracted COVID. He died in June at age 65 and her obituary, attacking politicians for their handling of crisis, went viral. Biden wrote to her after her obituary was published to express his sorrow at her loss.
‘He had faith in Donald Trump,’ Urquiza said of her father. ‘He voted for him, listened to him, believed him and his mouthpieces when they said that coronavirus was under control and going to disappear. That it was OK to end social distancing rules before it was safe. That if you had no underlying health conditions, you’d probably be fine.’
‘In late May after the stay-at-home order was lifted in Arizona my dad went to a karoake bar with his friends,’ she continued. ‘He died alone in the ICU with a nurse holding his hand.’
Then she struck with her harshest line of the night – directed straight at the president.
‘My dad was a healthy 65-year-old. His only pre-existing condition was trusting Donald Trump and for that he paid with his life,’ she said.
Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic -which has infected more 5.42 million Americans and killed more than 170,000 people – has earned him some of his toughest marks from voters.
In an ABC News/Washington Post out last week, 59 per cent said they disapproved of his handling of the crisis, while 40 per cent approved.
The convention also played a video tribute to showcase those who died from the virus, an ‘in memorial’ segment to drive home the devastation the virus brought.
Cuomo started his speech like he started his daily coronavirus briefings, seated at a table in a suit and tie with power point slides around him, noting it was day 170 of the pandemic.
The New York governor, who was praised for his handling of the coronavirus in his state, cited divisions in America going back to the 2017 rally in Charlottesville, Va., to the death of George Floyd.
‘Only a strong body can fight off the virus and America’s divisions weakened,’ he said, continuing his metaphor of the coronavirus and the nation’s political health.
‘Donald Trump didn’t create the initial division. The Division created Trump. He only made it worse’ he said.
He accused the Trump administration of not seeing the virus coming.
‘Our current federal government is dysfunctional and incompetent, it couldn’t fight off the virus. In fact, it didn’t even see it coming. The European virus infected the Northeast while the White House was still fixated on China. The virus had been attacking us for months before they even knew it was here,’ he said.
Mark Anthony Urquiza and his daughter Kristin Urquiza
Mark Anthony Urquiza in the hospital on a respirator – he died of COVID on June 30
Andrew Cuomo praised Joe Biden for his compassion and his ability to unit people
Cuomo blamed the incompetence of the administration for the rising number of coronavirus cases in the United States.
‘Americans learned the critical lesson, how vulnerable we are when we are divided. And how many lives can be lost when our government is incompetent,’ he said.
He wrapped up his criticism of President Trump and pivoted to praising Joe Biden.
‘Now we need a leader as good as our people. A leader who appeals to the best within us, not the worst, a leader who can unify not divide a leader who can bring us up not tear us down. I know that man. I’ve worked with that man. I’ve seen his talent, I’ve seen the strength. I’ve seen his pain, and I’ve seen as hard. That man is Joe Biden. Joe Biden is what I call America tough, tough in the best way. Tough that is smart united disciplined and loving. Joe Biden can restore the soul of America. And that’s exactly what our country needs today,’ he concluded.
Four former top Republicans back Joe Biden at DNC – with 2016 presidential loser John Kasich saying candidate will NOT ‘turn left’ and pleading with GOP voters to vote out Donald Trump
Four former top Republicans formally backed Joe Biden at Monday night’s virtual Democratic National Convention festivites, with 2016 GOP hopeful John Kasich promising his fellow party members that the Democrat wouldn’t become too liberal.
‘I’m sure there are Republicans and independents who couldn’t imagine crossing over to support a Democrat, they fear Joe may turn sharp left and leave them behind. I don’t believe that,’ Kasich said. ‘Because I know the measure of the man – reasonable, faithful, respectful and you know, no one pushes Joe around.’
Kasich was preceded in the program by former GOP New Jersey Gov. Christine Todd Whitman, former New York Rep. Susan Molinari and former GOP California gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman, the former CEO of Hewlett Packard who now runs Quibi.
Former Ohio Gov. John Kasich asked his fellow Republicans to cross party lines and vote for Joe Biden
Former GOP New Jersey Gov. Christine Todd Whitman talked about how she’s been a ‘lifelong Repubilcan,’ but now she’s supporting Joe Biden over President Donald Trump
Quibi CEO Meg Whitman, who ran as a Republican for California governor in 2010, ridiculed Trump’s business acumen
Rep. Susan Molinari talked about how, as a New York lawmaker, she’s known Trump for years and it’s been ‘disappointing and lately so disturbing’
‘What am I doing here? I’m a lifelong Republican. My parents were introduced at a Republican National Convention by their parents,’ Todd Whitman said.
But she said she was compelled to vote for a ‘person decent enough, stable enough, strong enough to get our economy back on track.’
‘A person who can work with everyone,’ she continued. ‘Donald Trump isn’t that person. Joe Biden is.’
Meg Whitman briefly belittled Trump’s business acumen.
‘And let me tell you, Donald Trump has no clue how to run a business let alone an economy,’ she said.
While Molinari, who had represented New York City in the House of Representatives, talked about how she knew Trump for most of her political career.
‘So disappointing and lately so disturbing,’ she uttered.
As for Biden, Molinari called him her ‘friend.’
‘He really is a good man,’ the lawmaker-turned-Google lobbyist said.
When it was Kasich’s turn the camera hovered over the former Ohio governor as he literally stood at some crossroads in Westerville, Ohio, situated outside of Columbus and the former site of a Democratic debate.
Kasich’s point: that Trump had taken the country ‘down the wrong road.’
‘It’s a path that’s led to division, disfunction, irresponsibility and growing vitriol,’ Kasich said.
The former GOP governor pleaded with Republicans to cross party lines.
‘Yes, there are areas where Joe and I absolutely disagree. But that’s OK, because that’s America,’ he said.
He praised Biden for being a ‘good man’ and a person who had shown him respect over their 30-year relationship.
‘Joe Biden is a man for our times,’ Kasich said. ‘Times that call for all of us to take off our partisan hats and put our nation first for ourselves … and our children.’
Prior to the appearances of the four Republicans, the Trump campaign had lashed out and called them a number of names.
Kasich, the campaign said, was a ‘sore loser.’
Molinari a ‘swamp creature,’ who had lobbied for Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The Trump campaign also noted that Meg Whitman and Christine Todd Whitman had already voted Democratic once – selecting Hillary Clinton over Trump in 2016.
Bernie Sanders warns ‘authoritarianism has taken root in this country’ as he begs his supporters to back Joe Biden to oust ‘not normal’ Donald Trump from the White House
Bernie Sanders begged his supporters to vote for Joe Biden in his Monday night speech addressing the virtual Democratic National Convention, giving the at-home audience a dire warning about President Donald Trump.
‘Under this administration, authoritarianism has taken root in our country,’ Sanders said. ‘This is not normal and we must never treat it like it is.’
Sanders, who was Biden’s final rival in the 2020 Democratic primary and represents the progressive wing of the Democratic party, told his faithful that ‘the price of failure is just too great to imagine.’
Bernie Sanders begged his supporters to vote for Democrat Joe Biden as he warned that ‘authoritarianism has taken root in this country’ during the administration of Republican Donald Trump
Bernie Sanders (right) endorsed Joe Biden (left) in April, five days after he suspended his presidential bid and spoke at the opening night of this year’s virtual Democratic National Convention
‘During this president’s term the unthinkable has become reality,’ the Vermont senator said, addressing the convention from his home state and in front of stacks of firewood. ‘He has tried to prevent people from voting, he has undermined the U.S. Postal Service, deployed the military and federal agents against peaceful protesters, threatened to delay the election and suggested that he will not leave office if he loses.’
He brought up his Jewish and family’s immigrant roots as he talked about the danger he believed another four years of Trump posed.
‘I and my family and many of yours know the insidious way authoritarianism destroys democracy, decency and humanity,’ Sanders said.
‘As long as I am here I will work with progressives with moderates and yes, with conservatives, to preserve this nation from a threat that so many of our heroes are born and died to defeat,’ he added.
He then turned to Trump’s handling of the coronavirus crisis, saying the current Oval Office occupant and ‘put our lives and health in jeopardy.’
‘Nero fiddled while Rome burned. Trump golfs,’ Sanders scoffed.
On the economic front, Sanders railed against Trump for not working harder to make a deal with Congressional Democrats, which left millions of Americans with decreased unemployment benefits and no new stimulus checks as COVID-19 continues to ravage the country and its economy.
‘Trump concocted fraudulent executive orders that do virtually nothing to address the crisis while threatening the very future of Social Security and Medicare,’ Sanders argued.
Sanders also gave reasons for his supporters to vote for Biden, rather than just against Trump.
‘We must build a nation that is more equitable, more compassionate and more inclusive,’ Sanders said. ‘I know that Joe Biden will begin that fight on day one.’
Sanders pointed out that Biden supported raising the minimum wage to $15 – a longtime progressive goal – and said he aimed to create 12 weeks of paid family leave, universal pre-K and make childcare more affordable.
Sanders also mentioned some of Biden’s infrastructure goals and how the presumptive Democratic nominee planned to fight climate change while creating green jobs.
While Biden hasn’t been supportive of Medicare-for-all, Sanders pointed out that Biden ‘will lower the eligibility age of Medicare from 65 down to 60.’
‘The future of our democracy is at stake. The future of our economy is at stake. The future of our planet is at stake,’ Sanders said. ‘We must come together, defeat Donald Trump and elect Joe Biden and Kamala Harris as our next president and vice president.’
Sanders’ aim in his Monday night speech was to get the left flank of the party fully onboard Biden’s campaign, after taking flak for not exiting the race early enough in 2016 and not campaigning zealously enough for Hillary Clinton.
Joe Biden (left) and Bernie Sanders (right) last met on the debate stage on March 15 as the campaigns were already being impacted by the coronavirus crisis. During his DNC remarks, he went after Trump’s bungled response
This time around, Sanders bowed out on April 8 and endorsed Biden on a Zoom call five days later.
Sanders had been beaten badly by Biden in South Carolina on February 29 and then again three days later when Biden won 10 of the 14 ‘Super Tuesday’ primaries, making the nomination simply out of reach.
In 2016, California’s Democratic primary wasn’t held until June 7, giving Sanders a delegate-rich prize to aim for at the end of the primaries, keeping him in the race.
Sanders lost to Clinton in California 8 points, though decided to stay in to let Washington, D.C., Democratic voters go to the polls on June 14 before making an announcement about his fate in the race.
Sanders never ended up officially dropping out, instead endorsing Clinton on July 12, two weeks before the Democratic National Convention.
At the convention on July 26, 2016, Sanders formally lost the nomination to Clinton.
Four years later, a number of Sanders’ supporters contributed to the Biden campaign’s 110-page policy document outlining how the former vice president would lead.
The Sanders influence has Trump joyfully calling the document a ‘manifesto,’ but it also proved to progressives that Biden was dedicated to pursuing agenda items, like something close to a ‘Green New Deal.’
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, one of Sanders’ most potent supporters, will speak Tuesday night at the convention, after initially expessing reservations about campaigning for Biden.
And Jeff Weaver, Sanders’ 2016 campaign manager, helped write the speech Biden will deliver Thursday night from Wilmington, according to Politico.