The fourth and final night of the Democratic National Convention brought presidential nominee Joe Biden's acceptance speech, a host of remarks from more party officials and musical performances by John Legend, Common and The Chicks.
In broad remarks, Biden presented his vision for uniting America to move the country forward from "constant chaos and crisis."
Other speakers Thursday included former presidential primary rivals Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey, former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, businessman Andrew Yang and billionaire Michael Bloomberg, and several erstwhile vice presidential contenders, including Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, Sen. Tammy Duckworth of Illinois and Sen. Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin.
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ANALYSIS: Biden sticks landing to close cautious convention
WASHINGTON — Joe Biden stuck the landing on a four-day virtual party convention Thursday, giving an acceptance speech that rebuffed in its delivery and content President Donald Trump's charge that he is a "sleepy" captive of the "radical left" who is "against God."
At turns optimistic, impassioned and admonishing — and using the words of the civil rights activist Ella Baker as a bridge to an implicitly biblical frame — Biden cast himself as an "ally of the light" and Trump as a figure who has "cloaked the nation in darkness" for nearly four years.
He was much more the cagey veteran than a lion in winter.
But as much as anything, Biden's closing remarks reflected the caution of a Democratic Party that suddenly rallied around its most well-known, even-keeled and centrist candidate after the threat of a relative newcomer or a familiar democratic socialist winning the nomination became more tangible in February and March.
3 key takeaways from DNC 2020, Night 4
WASHINGTON — Joe Biden accepted the Democratic presidential nomination on a night that distilled the mood of the convention: light on policy and heavy on feelings of unity, optimism and wresting the levers of power from President Donald Trump.
The purpose of the convention was to put ideological and other disagreements on the back burner and encourage voters to dispose of a president who was depicted throughout its final evening as a mortal threat to the character of the United States.
The focus was on empathy, compassion, justice and fairness — qualities that the politicians, celebrities, historians and former Republicans who spoke said were embodied in Biden.
Or, as the Republican pollster Patrick Ruffini put it: "Decency porn."
Fact checking Biden on Trump’s COVID-19 response
“Just judge the president on the facts. Five million Americans infected by COVID-19. More than 170,000 Americans have died. By far, the worst performance of any nation on earth,” Biden said on Thursday night. “More than 50 million people have filed for unemployment this year. More than 10 million people are going to lose their health insurance this year. Nearly 1 in 6 businesses have closed this year.”
Biden’s numbers, used to paint a critical picture of President Trump’s handling of the coronavirus, largely check out: More than 5 million people in the U.S. have tested positive for COVID-19 this year. More than 170,000 people have died. As of last month, more than 50 million people had applied for unemployment since the pandemic began, and researchers at the nonprofit Urban Institute recently estimated that 10 million will lose employer-sponsored health care by the end of the year.
His final data point — that nearly 1 in 6 businesses have closed this year — is a bit harder to verify because there’s no centralized data. The Biden campaign, however, pointed to two sources: a U.S. Chamber of Commerce survey that estimates that 1 in 7 businesses were still closed in July, and an economic recovery tracker from Opportunity Insights, a nonprofit research group affiliated with Harvard and Brown Universities, that says that nearly 1 in 5 small businesses had shuttered.
But is it the ”worst performance of any nation on earth?” The U.S., under Trump’s administration, has struggled to combat the virus in part due to a decentralized response that was slow and bungled from the start. Compared with the success countries like Japan, Germany and New Zealand have seen in controlling the virus, the U.S. response has been deeply flawed. But other nations, albeit less prosperous ones like India and Venezuela, are suffering acutely and struggling to respond to the virus, too.
Trump criticizes Biden's DNC acceptance speech as 'just words'
OLD FORGE, Pa. — President Donald Trump sought to depict rival Joe Biden as out of touch with the working class as he campaigned near the former vice president's Pennsylvania hometown Thursday and delivered real-time criticism of the Democrat's speech.
"In 47 years, Joe did none of the things of which he now speaks. He will never change, just words!" Trump wrote on Twitter as Biden spoke.
Biden's campaign has made Trump the central theme of this week's Democratic convention, producing a program that featured a series of speakers offering blistering criticisms of his presidency. Trump has served as a one-man rebuttal team, including firing off real-time responses during former President Barack Obama's speech Wednesday.
Biden avoids mentioning Trump by name
Joe Biden went to great lengths to avoid mentioning President Trump's name during his lengthy acceptance speech.
Instead, Biden used various euphemisms to deliver pointed attacks aimed at Trump’s leadership and character.
Biden referred to Trump as "this president" and the "current occupant of the White House," while also comparing him to "darkness."
"He will wake up every day thinking the job is all about him, never about you," Biden said.
Biden discussed George Floyd and ‘rooting out systemic racism’
Toward the end of his speech, Biden detailed a private conversation he had with Gianna Floyd, George Floyd’s young daughter, the day before her father was laid to rest.
Biden recalled the child saying, “Daddy changed the world.”
“Her words burrowed deep into my heart,” he said.
Biden then called for a societal shift in the wake of Floyd's killing.
“George Floyd’s death was the breaking point” for the country to wake up to racism in America, Biden said. He quoted the late John Lewis in doing the work to address injustice.
“America is ready in John’s words to ‘lay down the heavy burden of hate’ and do the hard work of rooting out systemic racism,” he said.
'Welcome to Wilmington'
An enthusiastic Joe Biden ended his evening with his running mate and their spouses and a spectacular fireworks display. After the grande finale, Biden lowered his mask, pointed to nearby reporters and said: "Welcome to Wilmington!"
After a reporter asked how he felt, he pumped his fist before walking off stage.
Biden speech gets rave reviews, even from conservatives
Biden says #ThanksObama
Biden honored Obama in his acceptance speech, while taking a dig at Trump.
"Let me say something we don’t say enough, 'Thank you, Mr. President.' You were a great president. A president that our children could and did look up to," Biden said. "No one is going to say that about the current occupant of the White House."
Biden shifts tone toward Trump
Much of the early portion of Biden’s speech was focused on unity and bringing the country together. But as Biden transitioned into speaking to some of the finer points of his candidacy, he shifted in tone toward Donald Trump.
In one particularly fiery line, Biden said, "The days of cozying up to dictators is over."
Both segments of the speech served as a near-total contrast with Trump in how he discussed the pandemic, national security, racial injustice and the country at large.
'No miracle is coming': Biden goes after Trump’s response to COVID
Joe Biden strongly rebuked President Trump’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, saying that his lack of leadership made the crisis work.
"The president keeps telling us the virus is going to disappear. He keeps waiting for a miracle," Biden said. "Well, I have news for him. No miracle is coming. We lead the world in confirmed cases. We lead the world in deaths."
"He has failed to protect us," Biden added. "And my fellow Americans, that is unforgivable."
Drawing on his own experience losing family members, Biden spoke directly to those who have lost loved ones to the virus.
"I know how mean, cruel, and unfair life can be sometimes,” Biden said. "Your loved one may have left this earth but they'll never leave your heart. They'll always be with you."
Who was Ella Baker? Why did Biden begin with her?
Biden began and ended his speech while accepting the Democratic Party’s nomination for president with evocative references to past and present struggles for civil rights.
When Biden took his place at center stage on the fourth night of the DNC, he started with a riff on light and dark, about a nation’s path. He quoted Ella Baker, a lecturer, strategist, and organizer in the mid-20th century civil rights movement who helped to coordinate sustained resistance activities which transformed the country.
“Ella Baker, a giant of the civil rights movement, left us with this wisdom: Give people light and they will find a way,” Biden said. “Give people light. Those are words for our time.”
In many ways, Ella Baker was the consummate civil rights worker, responsible for the logistics and strategy behind sustained lunch counter protests and Freedom Summer.
Born in Virginia in 1903 as the granddaughter of slaves, Baker graduated first in her college class from the North Carolina HBCU, Shaw University. Beginning in the 1940s, she served as the equivalent of a field organizer, secretary, and leader for multiple civil rights organizations around the country.
That list includes the NAACP, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. But, Baker did the work and, she believed in bringing ordinary people into the fight for their own rights, fights they shaped and implemented.
Baker was so committed to equality she sometimes clashed with the movement’s best known male figures. She argued that embracing a patriarchal, messianic leadership model was a mistake.
So, as some DNC viewers watched Biden begin his speech with a Baker quote, the reaction was swift.
Biden makes big unity pitch in nomination speech
Building on the overall theme of this convention, Joe Biden went hard with unity points in his speech closing out the Democratic National Convention on Thursday.
“While I am a Democratic candidate, I will be an American president,” he said.
Sounding a bit like Barack Obama’s 2004 convention speech, Biden said: “America isn't just a collection of clashing interests and red states and blue states. We're so much bigger than that."
Joe Biden accepts Democratic nomination for president, capping decades-long quest
Joe Biden on Thursday accepted the Democratic nomination for president on the final night of the party’s four-day virtual convention as his campaign prepared to enter the homestretch of its battle to oust President Trump.
"It is with great honor and humility that I accept this nomination for president of the United States of America,” said the 77-year-old former vice president, reveling in a special moment for a candidate who ran twice previously for the White House, in 1988 and 2008. Biden delivered his address from Wilmington, Delaware, in a venue that was largely empty because of coronavirus concerns.
Fact check: Bloomberg on Trump's bankruptcies
Michael Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York City and Joe Biden's onetime 2020 rival, went after President Trump for his track record as a businessman.
"Trump says we should vote for him because he’s a great businessman. Really?!” Bloomberg said. “He drove his companies into bankruptcies six times."
That number is accurate — Trump companies have filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection six times, according to reports.
Fact check: Is Trump trying to 'sabotage' the Postal Service?
California Secretary of State Alex Padilla alleged that President Trump is trying to “sabotage” the Postal Service on Thursday night.
In public remarks, the president has suggested that his opposition to agreeing to critical funding for the USPS hinged on his desire to limit mail voting.
“They need that money in order to have the post office work so it can take all of these millions and millions of ballots,” the president said in a Fox Business interview on August 13. “If they don’t get those two items, that means you can’t have universal mail-in voting because they’re not equipped to have it.”
Bloomberg gives prominent speech at DNC despite backlash
Mike Bloomberg on Thursday blasted President Trump in his speech to the DNC, calling him a failed businessman and saying he must be defeated this November for the sake of the nation.
Bloomberg’s remarks drew Trump’s ire almost immediately, though they were far from the first anti-Trump remarks of the night.
"After the worst debate performance in the history of politics, Michael Bloomberg, commonly known as Mini Mike, is trying to make a comeback by begging the Democrats for relevance," Trump tweeted. "They treated him like a dog — and always will. Before politics, he said GREAT things about me!"
The former New York City mayor's prominence at the convention has drawn ire in recent days.
Several Bloomberg staffers are currently suing the campaign after they were let go after Bloomberg ended his campaign in March. They say Bloomberg had promised them jobs through the election, but the Bloomberg campaign has said they were "at-will" employees and could be let go at any time. The campaign has also pointed to health insurance the candidate provided to former staffers after they were let go.
Brayden Harrington, teen who overcame stutter with Biden’s help, honors VP
Although he can’t vote in this election, 13-year-old Brayden Harrington threw his support behind Biden on the final night of the DNC.
Harrington met Biden in New Hampshire earlier this year, where he and Biden found out they "were members of the same club — we stutter." Biden has been open in recent years about dealing with his stutter, often connecting with youth and other adults who have the same issue.
"It was really amazing to hear that someone like me became Vice President," he said. "He told me about a book of poems by Yeats he would read out loud to practice. He showed me how he marks his addresses to make them easier to say out loud. So I did the same thing today and now I'm here talking to you today about the future, about our future.”
He implored voters to elect Biden.
"I'm just a regular kid, and in a short amount of time Joe Biden made me more confident about something that's bothered me my whole life,” he said. "Kids like me are counting on you to elect someone we can all look up to, someone who cares, someone who will make our country and the world feel better. We're counting on you to elect Joe Biden."
‘All the people voted off the island’: Former candidates share stories about Biden
Joe Biden’s ex-presidential rivals appeared in a Zoom-style chat to discuss their time on the campaign trail and to share stories about Biden.
Cory Booker led the conversation, joking that they were “all the people voted off the island.”
Amy Klobuchar shared a time when she thought nobody was paying attention to a Senate speech she had given, just to be surprised by a call from Biden to tell her he’d tuned in. Elizabeth Warren told a story about Biden on the first anniversary of the Boston Marathon Bombing, saying that she was able to clearly see him as someone who had “experienced loss very personally.”
Pete Buttigieg, Beto O’Rourke, Bernie Sanders and Andrew Yang also joined the conversation.
“I mean this sincerely,” Booker concluded, “it was an honor to run against you, and it's an even greater honor to stand with you in support of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.”
Fact check: Was Joe Biden ahead of his party on gay marriage?
“Love makes my marriage real, but political courage made it possible — including that of Joe Biden, who stepped out ahead even of this party when he said that marriage equality should be the law of the land,” Pete Buttigieg said on Thursday night.
This is technically true. Biden did publicly voice his support for gay marriage ahead of any official move by the Democratic Party — but not by much, and a majority of Democrats were already in favor of marriage equality by the time he made the point.
When the then-vice president came out in support of gay marriage in 2012, he made headlines, in part because he’d beaten President Barack Obama to the punch by about 72 hours.
At least one member of Obama’s Cabinet — Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan —had already thrown support behind marriage equality and the White House reportedly had been quietly preparing for Obama to take a stand for months. And much of his party was already there — 65 percent of Democrats and a majority of Americans supported marriage equality, according to a Gallup poll taken within days of Biden’s remarks. A year earlier, for example, then-California Attorney General Kamala Harris, now Biden’s running mate, announced in a court filing that her office wouldn’t defend the state’s gay marriage ban in the courts.
The Democratic Party wrote marriage equality into the party platform later in 2012, after both Biden and Obama expressed their support. The Supreme Court would not make same-sex marriage legal nationwide until 2015.
Bloomberg upstaged by fly
Beau Biden memorial featured on DNC's final night
Biden has talked often about the death of his son Beau at age 46 to brain cancer and how facing such a tragedy has informed his decision-making.
Featuring Beau Biden before accepting the nomination follows the theme of tonight — fleshing out a more personal portrait of Biden to voters. Before his death, Beau Biden was following in his father’s political footsteps, but without using his last name to get there, the montage highlighted.
It ended with a poignant quote from Beau’s 2008 convention speech: “It won't be possible for me to be here this fall to stand by him the way he stood by me. So I have something to ask of you. Be there for my dad like he was for me.”
Duckworth eviscerates Trump
Tammy Duckworth blasted Donald Trump in some of the strongest terms of the entire convention Thursday.
“Somehow, Donald Trump still doesn’t get that America should stand up for what’s right — stand tall for our troops — and stand strong against our enemies,” Duckworth said after referring to recent reports that Russia had placed bounties on U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan and Trump’s lack of response. “But unlike Trump, Joe understands all of that. As president, Joe Biden would never let tyrants manipulate him like a puppet on a string.”
Duckworth lost her legs in a helicopter crash while serving in the Army in Iraq when her helicopter was shot down. Notably, Duckworth, who uses a wheelchair, stood for the entirety of the speech.
“Joe Biden would never threaten to use our military against peaceful Americans,” she added. “Because unlike Trump, Joe Biden has common sense and common decency. Donald Trump doesn’t deserve to call himself commander in chief for another four minutes — let alone another four years.”
That Bruce outro is wearing thin
It's the last night of the DNC, and we've all heard that "Riiiiiiiisseee uuupppp" Bruce Springsteen outro a few dozen times. And, understandably, some people have had enough of it.
'I’ll watch': Trump will tune in for Biden’s acceptance speech
President Trump called into Fox News for a nearly 30-minute interview Thursday night as the DNC was well underway.
When asked if he would be watching Joe Biden’s speech later in the evening, Trump said “I will, I’ll watch.”
“I don't know if I’m going to be able to watch all of it,” Trump joked. “I’ve watched a lot of hate last night and the night before.”
Trump also criticized the Democrats for taping some of their speeches, calling it “pretty boring,” and promised to “go live” for his acceptance speech next week.
Unions get brief moment at DNC
Joe Biden’s political career has been built in part from strong support from unions.
From firefighters to trades, he also spent decades enjoying strong support from union workers in Delaware.
President Trump has tried to cut into union support Democrats have historically enjoyed and his success at doing so contributed to his 2016 wins in states like Michigan and Wisconsin.
But Biden’s convention has given little time to unions. No union leaders were slated to speak.
And it wasn’t until the fourth night that unions made an appearance at all, when Biden hosted a virtual roundtable with four union leaders, including two public sector unions.
Booker makes impassioned plea for Biden
Cory Booker spoke on the final night of the convention and made an impassioned plea for Joe Biden, tying the senator’s personal story to the present moment.
“We’ll stand for those who cook, and serve, and clean; who plant and harvest; who pack and always deliver, whose hands are thick with calluses, like my grandad’s who held mine when I was a boy,” Booker said. “If he was alive, Joe and Kamala, he would be so proud of you—and 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.”
“So like his generation, up out of the Depression; let’s now work together and stand together and America, together, we will rise,” he added.
Rep. Deb Halaand points out that she's a '35th generation New Mexican'
Mayor Pete does some major prep
'He doesn’t want us to vote': Sarah Cooper after Trump impersonation
Sarah Cooper, who has gained a massive following on Twitter and TikTok for her Trump impersonations, spoke in a brief video at the Democratic National Convention on Thursday.
“I’ve heard Donald Trump say some pretty unhinged things,” Cooper said after doing one of her impressions, which feature her lip-syncing to a Trump speech. “I’ve heard them over and over and over again. But nothing is more dangerous to our democracy than his attacks on mail-in voting in the middle of a pandemic.”
Cooper said Trump “doesn’t want us to vote” because he knows he can’t win with a large turnout.
Cooper spoke during a segment that also featured the secretaries of state in California and Michigan as well as voters who promoted voting by mail and criticized Trump’s attacks on the process.
DNC honors civil rights icon John Lewis on final night
The late John Lewis was honored on the final night of the DNC.
Keisha Lance Bottoms, the mayor of Atlanta — Lewis’ hometown — kicked off the segment, which featured Nancy Pelosi, the Rev. James Lawson Jr. and Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland, who died in 2019.
“We must pass on the gift that John Lewis sacrificed to give us — we must register, and we must vote,” Lance Bottoms said.
Lewis was known as the "conscience of Congress" and represented Georgia for more than three decades in Congress. He died July 17 from pancreatic cancer.
Lewis dedicated his life to protecting voting rights, and this year Democrats have been on the offense — urging voters to make a plan to vote either by mail or in person and warning that Trump may sneak or steal his way to re-election.
Fists raised outside the DNC
The 'Veep' gets mixed reviews on Twitter, but praise from Harris
Chris Coons: Biden is 'a man of faith and conscience'
Chris Coons of Delaware, Biden’s hometown senator, introduced a segment on Biden’s faith — a moving portrait of how it influences his decision-making.
Coons said Biden has “comforted me in my toughest moments,” particularly when his father was in hospice care. He said Biden would “stop everything and listen — really listen — to someone who needs a shoulder to cry on or a partner in prayer.”
Coons, who hosts a weekly bipartisan Senate Prayer Breakfast, took a veiled dig at Trump by saying Biden doesn't use his faith as a “prop or political tool.” Police violently pushed back anti-racism protesters in June to clear the way for Trump to pose with a photo of the bible in front of a D.C. church.
It also included a past Q&A Biden had with a pastor discussing the killing of Black parishioners in South Carolina by a white supremacist, where Biden talked about the strength in the Black church.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus punctuated the segment with a biting comment: "Joe Biden goes to church so regularly that he doesn't even need tear gas and a bunch of federalized troops to get him there"
Yang delivers emotional speech with nods to math, Yang Gang
Andrew Yang kicked off the program with an emotional, if at times slightly awkward, speech at the Democratic National Convention Thursday.
"I’m Andrew Yang, You might know me as the guy who ran for President talking about MATH and the future," he said. Speaking in front of a green screen, Yang said Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will deliver for everyday Americans.
"I know many politicians promise and then fail to deliver," Yang, the one-time 2020 presidential candidate, said. "But we must give this country a chance to recover — and recovery is only possible with a change of leadership and new ideas."
"Give my regards to the Gang!" Louis-Dreyfus said, noting the YangGang.
"I will," Yang responded. "They’re right in the other room."
Julia Louis Dreyfus' top 3 opening jokes as voted by the NBC News live blog Slack channel
1. 30330, the code to text to support Joe, and the year President Trump will release his tax returns.
2. She was told she would appear on the cover of a magazine. It turned out to be Arrive, the Amtrak seatback magazine. Which no one ever reads, except Joe Biden.
3. A fifth night of the DNC with just Michelle Obama's speech on loop.
Rep. Richmond's son steals the show with pledge of allegiance
Julia Louis-Dreyfus brings jokes to final night of DNC
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, 11-time Emmy winner and fake vice president turned president in the HBO show Veep, brought the jokes immediately as the moderator of the final night of the DNC.
Louis-Dreyfus was joined by Andrew Yang where they spoke in Trump-isms and praised Kamala Harris (Yang called her speech “tremendous”) and talked about her upcoming debate with Mike Pence, while intentionally mispronouncing his name.
JLD: “I cannot wait to see her debate our current vice president, Mike Pince — or is it Pance?
Yang: It’s pronounced Ponce, I believe
JLD: Oh, some kind of weird foreign name?
Yang: No very American sounding
JLD: Yeah, that’s what people are saying, strongly.
Kamala’s name means "lotus" in Sanskrit, and has been mispronounced so much she released a video of how to pronounce it (comma-la).
Louis-Dreyus also poked fun at Trump, saying he can’t read and might never release his tax returns.
The Chicks, political pariahs among conservatives, sing national anthem at DNC
The Chicks, the country music trio who were once political pariahs, hit the virtual stage Thursday to sing the national anthem on the final night of the Democratic National Convention.
Their presence is notable for several reasons. The Chicks, formerly known as the Dixie Chicks, were one of the biggest acts in country music until they were ostracized by many of their fans after criticizing George W. Bush and the Iraq War.
The group made a brief comeback in 2006 with their Grammy-winning album "Taking the Long Way," but recently the group made headlines for dropping the Dixie from their name after civil unrest erupted following the murder of George Floyd.
Their appearance is also noteworthy because country singers are usually seen at Republican conventions and have a large conservative fanbase. But this appearance fits into the theme of reaching out to disaffected Republicans and independents at this year's DNC.
Tonight's host is ready!
Opening video honors Biden’s work on cancer cure
The final night of the DNC opened with a moving, somber portrait of Biden’s personal mission to end cancer. It started during the Obama administration with Cancer Moonshot, a program to fast-track cancer research to find a cure.
“I want to be the president who ends cancer because it’s possible,” Biden says in one clip.
It featured a montage of President Kennedy talking about America going to the moon by the end of the 1960s. It also featured the death of Biden’s son Beau, who died of brain cancer, and how his son pushed him to pursue his personal policy ambitions.
Mitch McConnell also made a cameo from a previous speech in which he talked about how Biden has overcome personal tragedies and informed him as a public servant — subtly tapping into the convention’s overall theme of also reaching out to Republican voters.
Focusing on Biden’s personal family history and how it informs him as a politician has been a theme of his campaign and a strength his supporters point to when Biden has one-on-one meetings with voters.
DNC drive-in watch parties pop up
Trump appears upset with the DNC's security checks
Newsom shuffled in lineup because of wildfires
California Gov. Gavin Newsom filmed a short update focused on the wildfires while visiting evacuation centers today that will air as part of tonight’s Democratic National Convention.
The brief remarks ran a couple of minutes and were recorded on a cellphone.
Newsom had been slated to give a broader address but nixed it because he was focused on the fires, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.