Highlights From Night 1: Unusual Unity And Sharp Words ForTrump
After just over two hours of programming, Night 1 of the virtual Democratic National Convention isdone.
The night focused on the theme of unity — rallying the Democratic Party around the goal of defeating President Trump, with speakers from both parties pledging their support for Joe Biden, notably including progressive Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Republican Gov. JohnKasich.
The programming also highlighted the challenges facing the U.S. around the coronavirus pandemic and continued discussion surrounding racism and police brutality in thecountry.
Kristin Urquiza, a woman from Arizona, spoke about her father’s death from COVID-19. Explaining that her father had supported Trump, Urquiza said, “His only preexisting condition was trusting Donald Trump, and for that, he paid with hislife.”
A moment of silence was also held for George Floyd, the Black man who was killed by police in May, prompting worldwide protests over racial inequality. The moment of silence was led by Floyd’s brothers, Philonise and RodneyFloyd.
The night concluded with a passionate and memorable address from former first lady Michelle Obama, who took direct aim at Trump, calling him “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,” Obamaadded.
For analysis and a post-convention recap every day this week, be sure tosubscribeto The NPR Politics Podcast.
DNC Chair Perez Says Republicans ‘Want Less People ToVote’
Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez says Republicans believe they win elections when “the voting populace goesdown.”
Perez told NPR that Democrats are using a wide range of tactics to ensure that as many people as possible have access to the vote. He accused Republicans of explicitly trying to keep people from turningout.
“There’s no subtlety to the Republicans. They’ve been saying it for decades,” Perez said. “It’s a tenet of their philosophy. We want less people to vote. Their leverage in the elections, they believe, goes up as the voting populace goes down. Those are not my words. Those are the precise words of the modern conservativemovement.”
Republicans often argue they’re interested in making elections secure, including by authenticating that people truly are who they say they are. Few things divide the parties more than voting andelections.
Perez said Democrats are working with local authorities, organizers and attorneys to ensure that voters have the opportunity to cast ballots in the election in November. He said the plan includes increasing the number of drop boxes for ballots in key battleground states like Wisconsin and Arizona and organizing turnout.
“We told people: Make a plan. Here’s how you vote absentee,” Perez said. “Request your ballot early. Here’s how you track your ballot. Here’s what you need to do. Make a plan.”
Asked if Democrats plan to advertise their get-out-the-vote efforts on the screen during the convention, Perez said a crawling website listing or phone number does not fit the virtual conventionformat.
“We didn’t want to have a chyron at the bottom of the TV all night,” he said. “This is not a telethon — this is aconvention.”
Perez also said he wanted to celebrate the wide range of voices that appeared on the first night of the Democrats’ virtualgathering.
“When you can have the likes of John Kasich to Bernie Sanders, to Amy Klobuchar, to everyone in between, it shows the breadth and depth of the support for Joe Biden,” Perez said. “It was a convention that looked like America. I’m so proud of the diversity of ourparty.”
“With history as our guide, if Joe Biden had been president, the coronavirus crisis would be dramatically worse,” Trump campaign press secretary Hogan Gidley said in a statement at the conclusion of Night 1 of the Democratic National Convention — an evening in which President Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic was sharply criticized by numerousspeakers.
Trump and his campaign have touted his restrictions on travel from China and, later, from Europe as part of the defenses they’ve offered of the steps he has taken to confront the pandemic, which has now killed more than 170,000Americans.
Trump has criticized the Obama administration’s response to the Ebola and swine fluoutbreaks.
Gidley’s statement also reinforced a line of criticism the Trump campaign has been pushing: that presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden is captive to the progressives in hisparty.
“Democrats can try to conceal the dangerous truth with a Hollywood-produced infomercial,” Gidley said, “but they can’t hide the fact that the radical socialist leftist takeover of Joe Biden iscomplete.”
While Night 1 of the Democrats’ confab did include Bernie Sanders, a self-avowed democratic socialist, it also featured John Kasich, a Republican former governor of Ohio, and other Republicans speaking on Biden’sbehalf.
Michelle Obama Delivers Forceful Call To Vote, Rebuke OfTrump
Closing out the night, former first lady Michelle Obama issued a call to vote “for Joe Biden like our lives depend onit.”
She also delivered a sharp criticism of President Trump, saying: “He cannot meet this moment. He simply cannot be who we need him to be for us. It is what it is.” (That last line is something Trump said about the coronavirus’s deathtoll.)
“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,” she said. “And then, make sure our friends and families do the same. 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 haveto.”
She also invoked the late Rep. John Lewis in closing herspeech.
“So, it is up to us to add our voices and our votes to the course of history,” she said, “echoing heroes like John Lewis, who said, ‘When you see something that is not right, you must say something. You must do something.’ That is the truest form of empathy: not just feeling, but doing; not just for ourselves or our kids, but for everyone, for all ourkids.”
Sanders Calls For ‘Unprecedented Response’ To DefeatTrump
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders used his convention address to set high stakes for the upcoming presidential election, framing this moment as a referendum on American values where decency and democracy hang in thebalance.
“In response to the unprecedented crises we face, we need an unprecedented response: a movement, like never before, of people who are prepared to stand up and fight for democracy and decency — and against greed, oligarchy and bigotry,” Sanders said. “And we need Joe Biden as our nextpresident.”
Sanders attempted to quash any fear of lingering division between his progressive supporters and the more moderate Biden in his blunt assessment of the upcomingelection.
“Under this administration, authoritarianism has taken root in our country,” 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 fought and died todefeat.”
Sanders spoke directly to his supporters, affirming their influence on the party’s platform while calling for them to backBiden.
“Many of the ideas we fought for, that just a few years ago were considered ‘radical,’ are now mainstream,” Sanders said. “But let us be clear: If Donald Trump is reelected, all the progress we have made will be injeopardy.”
He addressed specific areas where he and Biden agree, including climate change, increasing the minimum wage and providing universal pre-K, while acknowledging that the two still have differences on issues like health care. Sanders closed his remarks by calling on his supporters and those who backed other candidates, including Trump, to rally together forBiden.
“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 vicepresident.”
The DNC sought to ally itself with seniors during Monday night’s session, showing a video montage of grandparents who said they are alarmed that their prescription medicines and benefit checks could be held up by the changes. “Voting by mail is our only realistic option,” said a New York woman identified as Elizabeth, who said she had multiplemyeloma.
Experts have said as many as 70% of votes could be cast by mail this year as people see it as safer than standing in lines at polling places to vote inperson.
This month, Nevada passed a law that will see every active registered voter receive a ballot. Trump, who regularly falsely claims mail-in votes lead to rampant fraud, called the Nevada law an “illegal late night coup,” and the Republican Party has challenged the law incourt.
Nevada Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto accused Trump of working to defund the Postal Service and undermining the right to vote, putting seniors’ lives at risk over the issue in theprocess.
“Despite what the president says, voting by mail has been a secure, proven option for decades,” Cortez Masto said, calling the lawsuit“meritless.”
Republican Anti-Trump Efforts Ramp Up During DemocraticConvention
This week is the Democratic Party’s time to rally around Joe Biden and try to show that it has ended the battle between progressives and moderates over health care and climate policy in the service of uniting to defeat President Trump in November. But Republicans who oppose the president also are using the convention week as a platform to urge voters who typically support the GOP nominee to get behind Bideninstead.
Former Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who ran for president in 2016 and lost the GOP’s nomination to Trump, refused to attend the 2016 Republican convention, which was held in his own state when he was governor. But this year he received a coveted prime-time slot at the Democratic convention to argue that party labels aren’t as important as backing the person who he thinks could unify the country —Biden.
Kasich said, “No one person or party has all the answers” but said Biden is “a man for ourtimes.”
Several other notable GOP figures spoke briefly before Kasich — Meg Whitman, former CEO of Hewlett-Packard; Susan Molinari, a former GOP congresswoman who spoke at the 1996 Republican convention; and Christine Todd Whitman, former Republican governor of New Jersey. They all stressed the need to unify the country and vouched their belief that Biden has the ability to reach out to both Republicans andindependents.
Former Congressional Black Caucus Chairman Cedric Richmond is considered a rising star in the Democratic Party. An early Biden supporter, Richmond was named the first national co-chair of the campaign in May of lastyear.
Monday night, he praised Biden’s economic recovery plan as being in touch with working people. Biden’s plan, he said, is about more than creating jobs, “because he’s seen the world from a different perspective than most politicians. He knows what it’s like to live in a real neighborhood, not just penthouse apartments. He knows what it’s like to take the train to work, not just a chauffeuredlimousine.”
“That’s why he looks at our economic challenges the same way working people do, and he’ll solve them in a way that puts working people first. Joe Biden respects America’s workers, because he truly understands the dignity ofwork.”
The New Orleans native is a close ally of House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., who is an influential force among House Democrats and helped secure Biden’s victory in South Carolina. Richmond shares Clyburn’s strong influence in the party and is seen as a futureleader.
In Congress, Richmond serves as one of Clyburn’s top deputies in his role as the chief vote counter for House Democrats. He also sits on the powerful House Judiciary and Homeland Securitycommittees.
Richmond also has the unique honor of being Democrats’ undisputed star in the annual congressional baseball game. He honed his skills playing baseball at Morehouse College and is the starting pitcher for hisparty.
Kasich Stands At A Literal Crossroads To BackBiden
Former Republican Ohio Gov. John Kasich stood at the fork of two gravel paths as he explained why he was crossing party lines to support JoeBiden.
Kasich, who ran against Donald Trump in the 2016 GOP primary, drove the point home with the opening remark that “America is at acrossroads.”
“I’m a lifelong Republican, but that attachment holds second place to my responsibility to my country,” Kasich said. “That’s why I’ve chosen to appear at this convention. In normal times, something like this would probably never happen, but these are not normaltimes.”
Kasich said he disagrees with the Democrat Biden on many issues, but they share mutual respect. Kasich said he respects Biden’s “experience and wisdom” and has faith in the former vice president’scharacter.
The endorsement from a prominent GOP figure has further frustrated some progressives who have staked their hopes on Biden embracing the activist wing of the Democratic Party. Instead, Kasich used his remarks to court moderates and Trump-weary Republicans, saying that he does not worry that Biden will “turnleft.”
“I don’t believe that. Because I know the measure of the man,” Kasich said. “No one pushes Joearound.”
Democratic Governors Spar With Trump Over COVID-19Response
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer both used their convention addresses tonight to criticize President Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic. Throughout the spring, Trump publicly disapproved of both leaders’ responses to the outbreaks in theirstates.
In mid-April, as cases climbed in New York, Trump attacked Cuomo’s leadership in the state. Wrote Trump on Twitter: “Governor Cuomo should spend more time ‘doing’ and less time ‘complaining.’ ” Just days later, Trump thanked Cuomo at his daily newsconference.
Trump also repeatedly clashed with Whitmer early in the spring over Michigan’s lockdown measures, supporting protesters who were angered by the regulations. Whitmer alluded to what she called Trump’s derisive treatment in her speech tonight, invoking the title she said came from Trump: “that woman inMichigan.”
Clyburn Argues Biden Is The Unifier The CountryNeeds
South Carolina Rep. Jim Clyburn, a key booster of Joe Biden when he was struggling to compete, argued that the presumptive presidential nominee was the figure who could help heal a country still dealing with systemicracism.
“We will need a president who sees unifying people as a requirement of the job,” Clyburn said. He didn’t mention President Trump’s name but noted that his own district was working to recover from divisive symbols, saying that the statue of John C. Calhoun was recently removed from Charleston. The president has opposed removing Confederatesymbols.
Clyburn is the top-ranking African American Democrat in the House and his endorsement of Biden just three days before the South Carolina primary was credited with reviving Biden’s campaign after poor finishes in early primaries in Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada.
Clyburn recalled his decision to weigh in and said about his friend: “He will always be an adopted son of South Carolina. Joe Biden is as good a man as he is aleader.”
The South Carolina Democrat initially vowed to stay neutral because he wanted all the candidates to travel and court Democrats in his home state and wanted to preserve the importance of the first Southern state in picking the party’s nominee. But as one of the most influential party leaders in a state where African Americans made up roughly two-thirds of those voting in the primary, his nod quickly proved to be a decidingfactor.
“You brought me back,” Biden said to Clyburn on the night of his landslide victory on Feb. 29. That win set up Biden for commanding leads in subsequent primaries and prompted many of his competitors to begin dropping out of therace.
Clyburn has a long and close personal relationship with Biden. He publicly urged Biden to pick a female running mate and was an early proponent of adding California Democratic Rep. Karen Bass to theshortlist.
Days after peaceful protesters near the White House were sprayed with tear gas to clear the way for a photo op for the president, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser on June 5 renamed the area Black Lives Matter Plaza to commemorate the moment of protests. Bowser spoke as part of Democrats’ virtual convention tonight, and the Democratic Party has shown footage of the Black Lives Matterprotests.
After Bowser renamed the section of the District where the protests took place, artists with MuralsDC painted “BLACK LIVES MATTER” and the city’s flag in bold yellow across two blocks near the new streetsign.
Days later, activists put their own spin on the message, repurposing the two stripes on D.C.’s flag as an equal sign and adding the words “DEFUND THE POLICE.” That message has since been paved over, DCistreports.
Key Seniors Group Presses Postmaster General To Safeguard Voting ByMail
Just as the Democratic National Convention kicked off tonight, the AARP — the largest nonpartisan group advocating for Americans 50 and over — weighed in on the debate about the importance of voting by mail. The group is urging Postmaster General Louis DeJoy to suspend any changes to mail deliveryoperations.
Nancy LeaMond, AARP executive vice president and chief advocacy and engagement officer, told DeJoy in a letter that her group “has become increasingly concerned that recent changes in mail processing operations may be compromising the health and safety of millions of older Americans and may unduly restrict the ability of all Americans to safely participate in the upcoming elections, whether they choose to vote from home orin-person.”
The strong statement from the AARP — an influential group that has 38 million members spread out in congressional districts across the U.S. — will add pressure on Congress to step up protections for the U.S. Postal Service. LeaMond’s letter also notes that seniors rely on mail delivery for prescriptions and that the coronavirus pandemic has only increased reliance on timely service formedicines.
House Democrats announced plans to return to Washington later this week to vote on legislation that would direct the Postal Service not to implement any changes to service that it had in place on Jan. 1, 2020. Critics have accused DeJoy of implementing a de facto slowdown of mail service to hurt the processing of ballots in an election in which many more Americans than usual intend to vote bymail.
Top Republicans argue that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., is exaggerating the problems with the Postal Service and note that Congress has already approved billions of dollars in loans for it. But if seniors weigh in with concerns from rural areas — particularly in states with competitive congressional contests — that could force GOP lawmakers to get behind legislation to preserve mailoperations.
Democrats are taking a moment of silence for George Floyd, a Black man whose death at the hands of a white police officer this summer sparked international protests and renewed calls for racialjustice.
Floyd’s brothers, Philonise and Rodney Floyd, are leading the silenttribute.
The moment comes three months after Floyd was killed by former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who knelt on a handcuffed Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes while Floyd cried out inpain.
Chauvin faces several charges, including one count of second-degree murder. The three other officers involved, Tou Thao, J. Alexander Kueng and Thomas K. Lane, face charges of aiding and abettingmurder.
The incident, which was caught by several video sources, launched protests across the world to call for an end to police brutality and to address issues of systemicracism.
Longoria, In Shot At GOP, Calls Virtual DNC ‘Safe AndResponsible’
In a clear dig at the Republican nominating convention scheduled for next week, Democratic National Convention host Eva Longoria made a point of saying that the Democrats’ virtual event is the “safe and responsible” way to gather and shareideas.
Democrats embraced the all-virtual model in late June after it became clear that the spread of the coronavirus would not be sufficiently contained to allow for a safe in-person convention. At the time, President Trump was still pushing for a large, unmasked, rally-style event in Jacksonville, Fla. Republicans moved Trump’s acceptance speech to Jacksonville after officials in Charlotte, N.C., the official site of the Republican National Convention, said such a gathering would not bepossible.
Trump continued to push for the Jacksonville rally until late July, as coronavirus cases surged across Florida and the state became a viral hotspot.
Republican events have been dramatically scaled down since. Trump is now expected to accept the GOP nomination from the White House grounds on Aug. 27. Republicans have also requested a permit for fireworks at the WashingtonMonument.
If you ever wanted to take in one of the biggest political events of the year with your local congresswoman, this seems to be the year. Along with the first-ever virtual convention, the Biden campaign is hosting a slate of virtual watch parties in states across the U.S., running before each night’s prime-timeprogramming.
Michigan’s watch party tonight featured Rep. Brenda Lawrence, Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist and TV judge Greg Mathis. Broadcast via Zoom, the event was more conference call than a pass-the-popcorn, pour-a-glass-of-red-wine kind of watch party. The Zoom event kicked off with a montage of images of Biden from the pre-pandemic campaign trail. “Everyone is going to have to lead with kindness, humility and empathy. And not just talk — action. Action until we win. And we will win, if we do this together,” a narrator told the watch partyattendees.
A performance from the Detroit Academy of Arts and Sciences choir was included in the event. There was also a moment of silence for friends and family of people who have died from COVID-19, which hit metro Detroit hard thisspring.
From a desk in her house, with family photos and her living room visible behind her, Lawrence acknowledged the challenge of hosting a convention at thismoment.
“Unfortunately we can’t be together, touching each other, but we’re here together in spirit, and technology has allowed us a way to engage,” Lawrence said. “The convention this year is our platform to energize our base, to give us that extra push. We all know we can win this. We can win this, but it’s going to come with sweat and hard work. Michigan, we are important. We are a state that can deliver to the United States of America a newpresident.”
Eva Longoria, Actor And Activist, Takes Center Stage For DNC’s FirstNight
Eva Longoria, known for her role on Desperate Housewives and her activism on Latino political issues, takes center stage on Monday as host of the first night of the Democratic National Convention.
Longoria, a top fundraiser for former President Barack Obama and national co-chair of his 2012 campaign, spoke briefly at the DNC in Charlotte, N.C., that year. She also took a turn onstage in the Philadelphia convention in 2016, campaigning for HillaryClinton.
This year, the co-founder of the Latino Victory Fund, which champions Latinx candidates for public office, is the first of four celebrity hosts for the four nights of pre-taped and live virtual speeches that will make up this coronavirus-altered conventionweek.
Latinos are a key minority voting group, particularly in battleground states like Arizona and Florida. As NPR’s Juana Summers has reported, Joe Biden’s campaign initially lagged in organizing Latino voters but has added some high-profile staffers to address thegap.
Julián Castro, the lone Latino presidential candidate this cycle, will not be part of the Democrats’ prime-time program this week. When convention planners released the speaker lineup, Castro says he was disappointed by what hesaw.
“I saw the schedule, and out of the 35 prime-time speakers, only three of them were Latino,” Castro tells NPR’s Mary Louise Kelly. “There were no Native Americans, no Muslim Americans. And I said that I didn’t think that completely reflected this beautiful, diverse coalition, this big tent that Democrats have put together over these last fewyears.”
The DNC showrunners later announced that 17 Democratic “rising stars” from around the U.S. will jointly deliver Tuesday’s keynote address, bolstering representation of Native Americans, Muslim Americans and Latinos in the conventionmix.
Castro, who served as secretary of housing and urban development under President Obama, says that move was encouraging but he’s more focused on tangibles like Latino voter outreach.
“It is robust in 2020,” he says. “They’re investing in these swing states like Florida and also new swing states like Arizona and even Georgia and Texas, North Carolina, where there are a lot ofLatinos.”
Castro says Latino participation fell slightly between the 2012 and 2016 elections.
“We lost Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania by 77,000 votes,” he says. “And you have growing Hispanic communities even in those states. And so we can’t take anything for granted, whether it’s the Latino community or anycommunity.”
Before Castro dropped out of the Democratic primary in January, he vocally criticized now-presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden for Obama-era deportation policies. But now Castro says Latino voters should compare the two options on the table thisfall.
“Joe Biden is night and day compared to Donald Trump,” he says. “His immigration policy is based on common sense. It is based on compassion. He would ensure that we stop treating people cruelly and that we have reasonable, reasonable immigration approach. So, yeah, I mean, there’s no comparison. Donald Trump is the absolute worst president toward migrants and folks seeking a better lifehere.”
Trump Calls Kasich ‘Major Loser’ Ahead Of DNCSpeech
Ohio’s former Republican governor, John Kasich, a fierce critic of President Trump who is a featured speaker in Monday night’s lineup for the Democratic National Convention, drew fire from the president ahead of hisremarks.
Trump told reporters traveling with him on Air Force One that Kasich “was a loser as a Republican, and he’ll be a loser as a Democrat. Major loser as aRepublican.”
Trump was returning from a day of counterprogramming campaign travel in Minnesota and Wisconsin. While most of his remarks on the ride back were off the record, he told reporters that they could quote his take on Kasich, who ran against Trump for his party’s nomination in2016.
Kasich told NPR’s Steve Inskeep earlier on Monday that he is reaching out to moderate Republicans who might be willing to support Joe Biden. “What I’m trying to do is, essentially, to tell people that, you know, the party doesn’t have to be your master. You can feel free to cross the aisle and vote for somebody else,” Kasichsaid.
Sanders’ And Biden’s Attempts At Unity May Be TestedTonight
Since Sen. Bernie Sanders endorsed Joe Biden in April, their political relationship has centered on the creation of a handful of task forces meant to bring the Biden platform further to the left and entice Sanders supporters to support Biden inNovember.
In early July, the task forces proposed six in-depth policy recommendations written by prominent political leaders and supporters of both Biden and Sanders. While the proposals are not certain to be incorporated into Biden’s platform, a significant number are in the DNCplatform.
In addition to policy collaborations, the Sanders campaign has taken steps to avoid a situation similar to that at the 2016 convention, during which Sanders supporters clashed with Hillary Clinton’s team, by asking Sanders delegates to sign “nondisparagementagreements.”
The agreement discourages “online arguments and confrontations” and asks delegates to “refrain from making negative statements about other candidates, party leaders, Campaigns, Campaign staffers, supports, news organizations, orjournalists.”
Sanders is set to speak tonight at the convention. In his prepared remarks, he spoke of party unity. SaysSanders:
"My friends, I say to you, and to everyone who supported other candidates in this primary and to those who may have voted for Donald Trump in the last election: The future of our democracy is at stake. The future of our economy is at stake. The future of our planet is at stake. We must come together, defeat Donald Trump and elect Joe Biden and Kamala Harris as our next president and vice president. My friends, the price of failure is just too great toimagine."
Woman Whose Dad Died Of COVID-19: ‘His Only Preexisting Condition Was Trusting DonaldTrump’
Kristin Urquiza, who garnered national attention after she penned an obituary for her father in which she blamed politicians for failing to do enough to stop the spread of the coronavirus, harshly criticized President Trumptonight.
Her father, Mark Anthony Urquiza, died in late June after fighting COVID-19 for threeweeks.
She added: “His death is due to the carelessness of the politicians who continue to jeopardize the health of brown bodies through a clear lack of leadership, refusal to acknowledge the severity of this crisis, and inability and unwillingness to give clear and decisive direction on how to minimizerisk.”
Tonight, Urquiza said that the pandemic has made it clear there are “two Americas: the America that Donald Trump lives in and the America that my father died in,” according to speech excerpts released by conventionorganizers.
“My dad was a healthy 65 year old,” she’s set to say. “His only preexisting condition was trusting Donald Trump, and for that, he paid with hislife.”
The president and his administration have defended their response to the pandemic, saying that their steps, including halting travel from China, prevented many moredeaths.
Urquiza told NPR in July that she had gotten an “outpouring of support” after she wrote theobituary.
After her father’s death, Urquiza founded the organization Marked By COVID, which says it’s “elevating the truth about COVID to savelives.”
Michelle Obama Calls Biden ‘A Profoundly Decent Man’ In PrerecordedAddress
Former first lady Michelle Obama is set to highlight Joe Biden’s background and character in her speechtonight.
“I know Joe. He is a profoundly decent man guided by faith,” Obama says in a prerecorded video excerpt released by the Democratic NationalCommittee.
“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,” the former first ladyadds.
On the first night of the 2016 Democratic National Convention, Obama delivered a powerful and emotional speech that was regarded as one of the most memorable of the entire four-dayspectacle.
“I wake up every morning in a house that was built by slaves. And I watch my daughters, two beautiful, intelligent, Black young women playing with their dogs on the White House lawn,” shesaid.
In her speech four years ago, Obama also notably took aim at then-candidate Donald Trump’s use of Twitter, saying, “I want someone with the proven strength to persevere, someone who knows this job and takes it seriously, someone who understands that the issues a president faces are not black-and-white and cannot be boiled down to 140characters.”
It’s unclear if Obama will address President Trump in her speechtonight.
The first night of the Democratic National Convention will include dozens of speakers delivering remarks from across the U.S. — in both live and prerecorded formats. Below are some of the expected speakers to watch for tonight, with excerpts from their preparedremarks.
Former First Lady MichelleObama
“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 canrecognize.”
Vermont Sen. BernieSanders
"My friends, I say to you, and to everyone who supported other candidates in this primary and to those who may have voted for Donald Trump in the last election: The future of our democracy is at stake. The future of our economy is at stake. The future of our planet is atstake."
Former Ohio Gov. JohnKasich
“I’m a lifelong Republican, but that attachment holds second place to my responsibility to my country. That’s why I’ve chosen to appear at this convention. In normal times, something like this would probably never happen, but these are not normaltimes.”
New York Gov. AndrewCuomo
“Only a strong body can fight off the virus, and America’s divisions weakened it. Donald Trump didn’t create the initial division. The division created Trump; he only made itworse.”
Michigan Gov. GretchenWhitmer
“Over the past few months, we learned what’s essential: rising to the challenge, not denying it. We’ve learned who is essential, too. Not just the wealthiest among us. Not a president who fights his fellow Americans rather than fight the virus that’s killing us and our economy. It’s the people who put their own health at risk to care for the rest ofus.”
Nevada Sen. Catherine CortezMasto
“Mr. President: Nevada is not intimidated by you. America is not intimidated by you. We are united by shared values, shared history and shared rights — including our fundamental right tovote.”
Additional speakers tonight include House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Alabama Sen. Doug Jones and Washington, D.C., Mayor MurielBowser.
Former Campaign Staffers Want Bloomberg Pulled From ConventionLineup
Former staffers from Mike Bloomberg’s presidential campaign are calling on Tom Perez, the chair of the Democratic National Committee, to remove Bloomberg from the speaking lineup at the convention thisweek.
The staffers who signed an open letter are among those who have sued Bloomberg over his treatment of his campaign staff. They have alleged that they were promised their employment would continue through November, even if Bloomberg’s campaign was not successful. When it was not, they say, staffers were let go and encouraged to apply for jobs at the Democratic National Committeeinstead.
Bloomberg’s lawyers and spokespeople for Bloomberg’s campaign have argued that campaign staffers were “at will” employees, meaning that they could be terminated at anypoint.
In the letter to Perez, the staffers say that they “do not believe that there is a place on the convention stage for people like Mike Bloomberg who make a mockery of workers’ rights — a fundamental value that unites allDemocrats.”
The six staffers who signed the letter are calling on the DNC to find “another Democratic leader or workers’ rights advocate” to replace Bloomberg, who is scheduled to speak onThursday.
Trump Says He’ll Accept GOP Nomination Live From The WhiteHouse
While the Democratic National Convention kicks off online, President Trump is pointedly campaigning in person in battleground states — or in the case of Minnesota, a state he wants to be a battleground. Presidential candidates typically lie low during the week of their opponent’s convention. So the aircraft hangar rallies, with Air Force One serving as a backdrop, are adeparture.
“Another norm being busted,” said Michael Beschloss, a presidential historian. “There’s been some counterprogramming in the past, usually by surrogates who go to the convention city and try to be ‘truth squads,’ but this is likely to be a newextreme.”
Trump made two stops in Minnesota on Monday before landing in Wisconsin. That’s the state where Democrats were supposed to hold their convention before it went virtual. Even former Vice President Joe Biden will deliver his acceptance speech to an empty venue in his home state of Delaware, rather than go to Milwaukee as had been originallyplanned.
“This isn’t a rally — this is a friendly protest,” Trump said before a cheering crowd in Oshkosh, Wis. Reporters traveling with the president said about 400 people packed close to listen and not all were wearing masks. The state’s health department currently advises against gatherings of more than 10 people and recommends wearing masks in publicplaces.
Trump’s remarks Monday were supposed to focus on the economy but were largely a rehash of what he has said in recent speeches, press briefings and media appearances. On Tuesday, he is scheduled to visit Yuma, Ariz., to focus on border security. On Wednesday — the day Sen. Kamala Harris is slated to accept her party’s nomination to be the vice presidential candidate — Vice President Pence will deliver a campaign speech. And on Thursday, in what might be the ultimate troll move, Trump is set to give a campaign speech near Scranton, Pa., where Biden wasborn.
A week later, in what will likely be another norms-bending move, Trump plans to deliver his acceptance speech to the mainly virtual Republican National Convention from the White House. In remarks in Wisconsin, Trump mocked Democrats for prerecording some of their convention speeches and said his speech would be “live from the White House.” A Republican Party official tells NPR that the party has submitted an application to set off fireworks over the Washington Monument on the night of Trump’sremarks.
As Virtual Convention Begins, Democrats Turn Up The Heat OnUSPS
Like so many storylines in the 2020 election, it would have been hard to imagine a year ago that the U.S. Postal Service would be one of the key issues heading into November. But that’s the reality, as Democrats are latching onto President Trump’s polarizing comments last week tying USPS funding to his hope of hampering mail-in voting expansionsnationwide.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has called the House back from recess, with an expected vote coming later this week on a bill that would halt any changes within the Postal Service that would affect the “level of service” thisfall.
Democrats nationwide were already eying voting rights this year as a key issue to drive turnout, and the idea that something as universally beloved as the post office could be manipulated for political gain ties into that cleanly. The issue could also give Democrats an inroad with rural voters, many of whom depend on the USPS more than voters in citiesdo.
A number of high-profile speakers in this week’s Democratic National Convention, including Sen. Bernie Sanders, Sen. Elizabeth Warren and presumptive vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris tweeted about the USPS over the past few days, so expect it to come up a lot more as virtual convention events getunderway.
‘You Can Feel Free To Cross The Aisle’: John Kasich To Speak AtDNC
Former Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who ran as a Republican candidate for president in 2016, is slated to speak Monday night in support of JoeBiden.
He’s part of a lineup that Democrats hope will showcase broad support from both sides of the political spectrum — with Kasich reaching out to moderate Republican voters who are disenchanted with President Trump, and with Sen. Bernie Sanders, Biden’s final primary opponent, reaching out to the progressive wing of the DemocraticParty.
Kasich is a longtime critic of Trump. He refused to attend his own party’s 2016 convention, held in his home state, to protest Trump’snomination.
“What I’m trying to do is, essentially, to tell people that, you know, the party doesn’t have to be your master,” he said. “You can feel free to cross the aisle and vote for somebody else. That’s not some terrible thing to do. In fact, if you see somebody you like and you respect, it’s what being an American is allabout.”
He pointed to bewildered reactions that he would cross partisan lines as an example of the division he sees within the UnitedStates.
“To some degree, I think people would be less surprised or less worked up if I came out and announced I was an atheist, which I am not, as opposed to going to speak at the Democratic convention,” he chuckled.
“I’ve known Joe [Biden] for a long time, and I believe that he’s able to bring people together to solve difficult problems. And I think he keeps a cool head. And I don’t think he gets easily, easily offended. And I think he can work with people. That’s hisnature.”
Kasich teased to CNN that a “prominent” former congressional Republican will endorse Biden aswell.
Kasich may have been referring to former New York Rep. Susan Molinari, who Democrats announced Monday morning would be joining Kasich in the evening’s “We the People Putting Country Over Party” section ofprogramming.
Molinari delivered the keynote address at the 1996 Republican National Convention. After serving in Congress, she briefly worked as a journalist at CBS. She later went on to work at Google as vice president for publicpolicy.
Democrats also announced that two other prominent Republicans, former New Jersey Gov. Christine Todd Whitman and Quibi CEO Meg Whitman (no relation), will join theprogram.
Christine Todd Whitman was the first woman to serve as governor of New Jersey, from 1994 until 2001, and went on to serve in President George W. Bush’s cabinet as administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. She has been an outspoken critic of Trump and endorsed Hillary Clinton for president in2016.
Meg Whitman, former CEO of Hewlett-Packard, also endorsed Clinton in 2016. She ran as a Republican in 2010 for governor ofCalifornia.
It’s unclear how long each speaker will have to deliverremarks.
Presidential elections are won by the candidate who presents the most compelling vision for the future, and the Democratic National Convention is an opportunity for Joe Biden to convince voters not just that President Trump has failed today, but that Democrats will make Americans’ lives safer and more prosperoustomorrow.
National political correspondent Mara Liasson details Biden’s task. Read ithere.
Outside of the evening programming, the Democrats will use the convention to vote on their party’s platform, which a committee drafted and approved in late July. The 91-page document incorporates policies recommended by joint task forces chaired by members of both the Joe Biden and Bernie Sanderscampaigns.
The platform touches on several issues that were hotly debated throughout the Democratic primary. Here are a handful ofthem:
Environment: Democrats say they will work toward achieving net-zero emissions from greenhouse gases “no later than 2050.” They also commit to ceasing carbon pollution from power plants by 2035 “through technology-neutral standards for clean energy and energy efficiency.” They also aim to construct 60,000 wind turbines and 500 million solarpanels.
Policing: The party is advocating for fewer legal protections for law enforcement officers who commit “heinous violations of civil and human rights,” notably mentioning the need to reduce the power of qualified immunity. The platform does not mention “defunding the police,” something Bidenopposes.
Criminal justice: Democrats, the platform says, “believe no one should be in prison solely because they use drugs.” They support the decriminalization of marijuana in the platform but do not go as far as to advocate for federal legalization. The document does call for the legalization of medicalmarijuana.
Health care: The platform moves toward universal health care by advocating for a public option through the Affordable Care Act. It also calls for strengthening Medicare, Medicaid and benefits through VeteransAffairs.
Also, while the platform committee rebuffed an effort to add the Sanders-supported “Medicare for All” to the platform, it does get this mention: “Generations of Democrats have been united in the fight for universal health care. We are proud our party welcomes advocates who want to build on and strengthen the Affordable Care Act and those who support a Medicare for All approach; all are critical to ensuring that health care is a humanright.”
We get a first glimpse of that tonight, as the all-virtual Democratic National Convention kicks off from, uh, a lot of remote locations. None of the party’s leading voices will be in Milwaukee, which was scheduled to host the quadrennial event before the coronavirus pandemic scrambled allplans.
Over four nights — from 9 to 11 p.m. ET each night — Democrats will formally nominate Joe Biden for president and Kamala Harris for vice president, as well as highlight an array of speakers. Those given speaking slots include Sen. Bernie Sanders, Sen. Cory Booker, Hillary and Bill Clinton, and Barack and MichelleObama.
Even remotely, the convention is seen as a way to boost enthusiasm for the Democratic Party and its prospects in November. In their remarks, Biden and Harris will lay out their vision for how they would govern and attempt to draw a stark contrast between their leadership and President Trump’s, especially amid thepandemic.
Trump, as he often does, will offer some counterprogramming this week. He’s set to travel to four potential battleground states: Minnesota, Wisconsin, Arizona andPennsylvania.
The DNC is followed next week by the Republican National Convention, and the GOP is still finalizing those plans. The back-to-back events come as the challenger Biden maintains a steady polling lead over the incumbentTrump.
From 9 to 11 p.m. ET on Monday through Thursday this week, check out the top of this page for live video and live NPR coverage of theDNC.