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Michelle Obama, Bernie Sanders speak on Day 1 of the DNC

Former first lady Michelle Obama and Sen. Bernie Sanders are among the high-wattage speakers who delivered prime-time remarks Monday.
Image: Michelle Obama, Joe Biden, Kamala Harris and Bernie Sanders against a background of lightbeams and stars.
Chelsea Stahl / NBC News

The Democratic National Convention kicked off Monday in what is shaping up to be a nominating convention unlike any other.

The first night of the almost all-virtual event featured keynote speaker Michelle Obama, as well as former Democratic presidential contenders Sens. Bernie Sanders, the independent from Vermont, and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Govs. Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan and Andrew Cuomo of New York.

Presumptive nominee Joe Biden's pick for vice president, Sen. Kamala Harris of California, is expected to speak Wednesday night along with former President Barack Obama.

Jill Biden, Bill and Hillary Clinton, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California, Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and other high-wattage headliners will round out the programming in days leading up to Biden's acceptance speech on Thursday.

NBC News will air a special report from 10 to 11 p.m. ET each night, and MSNBC will have convention coverage from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m., with special coverage beginning at 9 p.m. NBC News Now will livestream the convention each day, with special coverage starting at 8 p.m. And follow us here on for breaking news, analysis and fact checks.

Download the NBC News app for full coverage and alerts on the latest news.

This live coverage has now ended. Continue reading DNC news from August 18, 2020.

Democratic convention's focus on racial justice omits policy demands of BLM protesters

Janell Ross

The first night of the Democratic National Convention featured a series of voter testimonials, speeches and a reserved conversation that centered on racial justice.

The first hour of the convention brought repeated references to the Black Lives Matter movement, the disproportionate number of Black Americans killed by police each year and the multi-city protests which roiled the nation this summer.

But there was little talk about specific policy commitments to address various forms of racial injustice.

Read more about the disparities here. 

'Hollywood-produced infomercial': Trump campaign responds to first night of DNC

Trump’s re-election campaign was quick to criticize Democrats just moments after the first night of the DNC concluded.

"With history as our guide, if Joe Biden had been president, the coronavirus crisis would be dramatically worse," Hogan Gidley, the Trump 2020 national press secretary, said in a statement. "Democrats can try to conceal the dangerous truth with a Hollywood-produced infomercial, but they can’t hide the fact that the radical socialist leftist takeover of Joe Biden is complete."

Earlier in the night the Trump campaign also sent an email during Sen. Bernie Sanders’ speech, claiming "it’s Bernie Sanders’s party – Joe Biden is just the empty vessel for it."

Trump appeared to be following along to the night’s events, retweeting criticisms of Cuomo and other speakers.

Michelle Obama's speech gets early praise

Michelle Obama scorches Trump, says to 'vote for Joe Biden like our lives depend on it'

Dartunorro Clark

Former first lady Michelle Obama, one of the most popular political figures in America, gave a speech Monday night that was part endorsement, part call to action, and a full-throated indictment of the Trump era.

She did not mention Trump by name until the end of her speech but mentioned a litany of controversies and policy failures during his first term. Obama also talked about all the pain and loss inflicted by the coronavirus and placed the blame squarely on the president. 

"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.

In a more personal tone, she talked about how Biden knows how to deal with loss after losing a wife and two children. She said Biden "is not perfect" because "there is no perfect candidate, no perfect president," but he is someone who knows the job well, will listen to experts and tell the truth. She used the last part of her speech as a rousing call to action to vote in person or by requesting mail-in ballots early. 

She addressed the remarks she made at the 2016 convention: "When they go low, we go high."

"Going high does not mean putting on a smile and saying nice things when confronted by viciousness and cruelty," she said, adding, "Going high means unlocking the shackles of lies and mistrust with the only thing that can truly set us free: the cold hard truth."

"So let me be as honest and clear as I possibly can," she added, calling out the president directly. "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."

She added, "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. If we have any hope of ending this chaos, we have got to vote for Joe Biden like our lives depend on it."

In powerful speech, Sanders says Trump leading U.S. toward 'authoritarianism'

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., said all of the progressive movement's gains could be in jeopardy should Trump win re-election, adding that the president is "leading us down the path of authoritarianism."

"Our great nation is now living in an unprecedented moment," Sanders said. "We are facing the worst public health crisis in 100 years and the worst economic collapse since the Great Depression. We are confronting systemic racism and the enormous threat to our planet of climate change. And, in the midst of all of this, we have a president who is not only incapable of addressing these crises but is leading us down the path of authoritarianism."

"This election is the most important in the modern history of this country," he said. "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. And we need Joe Biden as our next president."

Sanders thanked supporters of his 2016 and 2020 presidential bids, adding the campaigns "moved this country in a bold new direction" and turned ideas once considered "radical" mainstream.

"But, let us be clear, if Donald Trump is re-elected, all the progress we have made will be in jeopardy," Sanders said. "During this president’s term, the unthinkable has become normal."

"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 to defeat," he added.

Sanders bashed Trump's handling of the coronavirus pandemic, saying, "Nero fiddled while Rome burned; Trump golfs."

"His actions fanned this pandemic resulting in over 170,000 deaths and a nation still unprepared to protect its people," Sanders said, adding, "Trump’s negligence has exacerbated the economic crisis we are now experiencing."

Sanders pivoted to discussing how Biden will advance the progressive agenda, saying that Biden supports raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour, 12 weeks of paid family leave, universal pre-kindergarten, among other crucial progressive linchpins.

"To everyone who supported other candidates in the primary and to those who may have voted for Donald Trump in the last election: The future of our democracy is at stake," Sanders said. "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 to imagine."

Sanders was featured during the "unity" night of the convention — notable given how much better Sanders' post-primary relationship is with Biden compared to what it was with 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.

Team of rivals: 9 former Democratic opponents support Biden in montage

Dartunorro Clark

Nine of Joe Biden's former rivals came together to trash Trump and support Biden in a video montage.

Featured in the video were Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, former Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke, Massachusetts Rep. Seth Moulton, Sens. Cory Booker of New Jersey and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, the businessmen Andrew Yang and Tom Steyer. Biden's running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris of California, also made an appearance. 

The montage highlight the policy and personality differences between Trump and Biden. Characterizing Biden has an empathetic politician who has adopted many of their ideas, signaling unity within the party. It remains to be seen how useful it may be. 

Noticeably missing are Sens. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and former Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana, who have separate speaking slots at this week's convention.

Klobuchar talks voting rights, Post Office in DNC address

Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., opened her remarks Monday night highlighting the importance voting rights and the Post Office this election year. 

"The president may hate the Post Office, but he’s still going to have to send them a change of address card in January," she joked.

Klobuchar also struck a more somber tone, making the case for a president who can unite the country after the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis earlier this summer. 

"Now, more than ever, we need a president who will unite this country. We need a president who, in George Floyd’s memory, instead of using the Bible as a prop, will heed its words: to act justly," Klobuchar said. 

Vulnerable Democratic senator makes plea for unity

Sen. Doug Jones of Alabama used his convention spot Monday to highlight the advancement of civil rights in the South and promote Biden as the candidate who believes "Americans have more in common than what divides us."

"Alabama has shown me that even our deepest divisions can be overcome because each of us wants the same thing: to be treated fairly and given the same opportunities, and the freedom to live with dignity and respect," Jones said. "Now, some politicians try to pit us against each other, but I believe that Americans have more in common than what divides us. And in November we have a chance to elect a president who believes that, too."

"I’ve known Joe for more than 40 years. I met him as a wide-eyed law student, and he’s been my friend and champion ever since," Jones added. "The Joe I know is exactly the leader our country needs right now. He can bring people together to find common ground while standing up for what he believes is right."

Jones' speech hit on the major theme of Monday night — national unity. He is one of the most endangered Democratic senators up for re-election this year after having won a tight special election for former Sen. Jeff Sessions' seat in 2017. Biden campaigned for Jones in that race.

Kasich, a Republican, addresses DNC: 'These are not normal times'

Dartunorro Clark

Former Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a Republican, gave one of the only speeches Monday night that wasn't trying to appeal directly to Democratic voters. 

Standing at a literal crossroads to talk about the future of America, Kasich's speech seemed designed to engage disaffected Republicans or doubtful Independents to widen the coalition that could get Biden into the White House and make Trump a one-term president. 

"I’m a lifelong Republican, but that attachment holds second place to my responsibility to my country," he 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 normal times."

He did not mention the president by name, but said the administration has led the country down a path of "division, dysfunction, irresponsibility, and growing vitriol,” which is why he is backing Biden, who he called “a good man, a man of faith, a unifier.”

Earlier Monday, Trump addressed Kasich's presence at the DNC.

"He was a loser as a Republican and he’ll be a loser as a Democrat," Trump said. "Major loser as a Republican. I guess you can quote me on that. John was a loser as a Republican. Never even came close. And as a Democrat he’ll be an even greater loser."

Republican women throw support behind Biden

Three prominent female Republicans threw their support behind Biden on Monday in an unprecedented series of speeches at the convention.

Former New Jersey Gov. Christine Todd Whitman, Meg Whitman, a businesswoman, and former New York Rep. Susan Molinari  — all Republicans — did just that on Monday evening. 

The three women spoke about how despite their lifelong affiliation with the Republican Party, they were unable to support Trump. 

“This isn't about a Republican or Democrat. It's about a person: a person decent enough, stable enough, strong enough to get our economy back on track; a person who can work with everyone, Democrats and Republicans, to get things done. Donald Trump isn't that person; Joe Biden is,” said Todd Whitman. 

Whitman, the CEO, said that as an executive she felt Trump “has no clue how to run a business, let alone an economy.” Biden, she said, “has a plan” and “for me, the choice is simple: I'm with Joe.”

During her time as a New York politician, Molinari said she had gotten to know Trump and described him as “so disappointing, and lately so disturbing.”

"Now I've also gotten to know and work with Joe Biden on issues related to women that are so important to all of us," Molinari said. "He's a really good man, and he's exactly what this nation needs at this time."

'That woman from Michigan' takes on Trump, praises Biden

"I'm Governor Gretchen Whitmer, or as Donald Trump calls me, that woman from Michigan."

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Monday took on Trump's handling of coronavirus, comparing the pandemic to the auto industry crisis that ravaged her home state more than a decade ago.

Whitmer, speaking at a United Auto Workers union hall in Lansing, Michigan, credited Biden and former President Barack Obama with having "saved" jobs in the auto industry. Many of those same autoworkers, she said, were making protective equipment for health care workers in recent months.

"Democracy is a team sport," she said. "Especially now. It’s crucial that we rally together to fight this virus and build our economy back better." 

Whitmer was critical of the Trump administration, saying Trump "fights his fellow Americans rather than fight the virus that’s killing us and our economy."

"Just imagine if we had a national strategy: So everyone who needs a test — gets one for free. So everyone has access to a safe vaccine. So our kids and educators have the resources they need to safely get back to school," Whitmer said. "With Joe Biden and Kamala Harris in the White House, we will. Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will lead by example. Science, not politics or ego, will drive their decisions."

A finalist to be Biden's running mate, Whitmer gained prominence this year as one of the leading Democratic governors heading a state hit hard by COVID-19.

Fact check: Cuomo’s claims about Trump’s handling of the pandemic

The New York governor said the Trump administration “tried to deny the virus, then tried to ignore it, and then tried to politicize it.”

This is true; the president downplayed the threat of the virus and argued for weeks that it would simply disappear. 

He also made numerous political statements. For example, he claimed that hydroxychloroquine would be an effective treatment before studies had been completed. When medical reviews concluded it wasn’t effective, he claimed the pushback was political. He spread misinformation online, including the false claim that masks don’t work. He also claimed in July that Democratic governors “think it’s going to be good for them politically, so they keep the schools closed.”

Kasich and AOC spar over the soul of the Democratic Party

Former Gov. John Kasich of Ohio, a Republican, exposed the frays in the Democrat’s big-tent approach on Monday, criticizing New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a progressive Democrat, as "extreme."

"People on the extreme, whether they're on the left or on the right, they get outsized publicity that tends to define their party," Kasich said in an interview with BuzzFeed News. "You know, I listen to people all the time make these statements, and because AOC gets outsized publicity doesn't mean she represents the Democratic Party."

Ocasio-Cortez responded on Twitter, writing: "It’s great that Kasich has woken up & realized the importance of supporting a Biden-Harris ticket. I hope he gets through to GOP voters. Yet also, something tells me a Republican who fights against women’s rights doesn’t get to say who is or isn’t representative of the Dem party.”

Kasich is expected to address the DNC on Monday night and Ocasio-Cortez is slated to speak Tuesday. Some voters have expressed frustration that Ocasio-Cortez has been given only 60-seconds for her address, less time than Kasich was given.

Woman whose father died of COVID: 'His only pre-existing condition was trusting Donald Trump'

Kristin Urquiza, whose father died in Arizona in June from COVID-19, delivered a blistering rebuke of Trump's handling of the pandemic. 

Urquiza told the story of her father, Mark Anthony Urquiza, who she said trusted Trump and other Republican leaders when they said the coronavirus was under control and would disappear. 

Urquiza said her dad went to a karaoke bar with friends once Arizona's stay-at-home order was lifted in May and a few weeks later he was put on a ventilator. He died alone in the ICU "with a nurse holding his hand."

"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," Urquiza said. "Donald Trump may not have caused the coronavirus, but his dishonesty and his irresponsible actions made it so much worse."

"I was gripped not only by grief, but by anger and rage, that his life didn't seem to matter to the people in charge," Urquiza told NBC News earlier this year. "They have blood on their hands. People are dying."

Read more about Urquiza and her father on

Cuomo says coronavirus 'a metaphor' for Trump-led crisis

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a longtime Democratic leader whose national profile was boosted in the pandemic, bashed the Trump administration for its handling of the outbreak in an address to the Democratic convention Monday and said Biden will be able to "restore the soul of America."

"Our nation is in crisis, and in many ways, COVID is just a metaphor," Cuomo said. "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."

Cuomo came under the spotlight for his role in shepherding New York through the pandemic with daily press briefings that often garnered national attention. During his speech Monday, Cuomo once again used slides to make his point.

"Only a strong body can fight off the virus, and America’s divisions weakened it," Cuomo said. "Donald Trump didn’t create the initial division. The division created Trump; he only made it worse."

Cuomo added the nation needs "a leader as good as our people."

"Joe Biden can restore the soul of America," he said. "And that’s exactly what our country needs today."

Clyburn praises 'adopted son of South Carolina' Joe Biden in speech highlighting race

Dartunorro Clark

Rep. Jim Clyburn of South Carolina is the man who gave Biden’s campaign a jolt of energy after endorsing him in the state's Democratic primary in February.

Black voters were essential to Biden's securing the nomination and, in his speech tonight, Clyburn seem to acknowledge to be speaking directly to many of those voters.

Clyburn gave a nod to the racial reckoning currently taking place in the U.S., describing the slave ships that arrived on South Carolina’s shores centuries ago, the white supremacist that murdered nine Black parishioners at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston in 2015, the recent removal of Confederate monuments and a forthcoming museum dedicated to African American history. 

"Much like the country as a whole, we are stepping out from the shadows of our past — and beginning to lay the groundwork for a more just future," Clyburn said, adding that a Biden presidency would be forward-looking and one of unity and empathy. 

"That’s why I stand with Joe, and why he will always be an adopted son of South Carolina," he said. "Joe Biden is as good a man as he is a leader. I have said before and wish to reiterate tonight: We know Joe — but more importantly, Joe knows us."

St. Louis couple who waved guns at Black Lives Matter protesters will join GOP convention

A source familiar with the planning confirms to NBC News that the St. Louis couple who waved guns at Black Lives Matter protesters will participate in the GOP convention next week.

As first reported by the Washington Post, Patricia and Mark McCloskey will join the mostly virtual Republican National Convention next week to express support for Trump.

Dems turn to Bruce Springsteen to spark 'The Rising'

Less than 20 minutes into the first night of the DNC, and we've got our first Bruce Springsteen jam. 

A video montage with a Biden voice over set to "The Rising," featuring a brief shot of The Boss himself, provided a musical interlude between some of the heavier interviews and speeches.

The song comes from Springsteen's 2002 album, most of which was written in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. It was a critical and commercial hit.

Springsteen has a pretty tight relationship with some of the big names in the Democratic party. He even played "The Rising" at Obama's inauguration in 2009.

George Floyd's brother honors those killed by police with moment of silence at DNC

Dartunorro Clark

Philonise Floyd honored his brother and others killed by police in a moment of silence at Monday night's Democratic National Convention. 

He characterized George, who was killed while in police custody in May, as "selfless" and a "giving spirit" who "always made sacrifices for his family, friends, and even complete strangers."

After his brother's death, his "spirit" poured into streets around the globe with Black Lives Matter and anti-police brutality protests. His speech could be a poignant reminder to voters about the country's racial strife and the administration's response to it over the years. 

"It’s a fitting legacy for our brother. But George should be alive today. Breonna Taylor should be alive today," he said. "Ahmaud Arbery should be alive today. Eric Garner should be alive today. Stephon Clark, Atatiana Jefferson, Sandra Bland—they should all be alive today."

He added, "So it’s up to us to carry on the fight for justice. Our actions will be their legacies. We must always find ourselves in what John Lewis called 'good trouble.' For the names we do not know, the faces we will never see, those we can’t mourn because their murders didn’t go viral."

Bowser says 'we can't just say' Black Lives Matter

Mayor Muriel Bowser of Washington, D.C., who gained notoriety for her handling of police brutality protests in the nation's capital, lambasted the Trump administration's response to the demonstrations following George Floyd's death.

"While we were peacefully protesting, Donald Trump was plotting," Bowser said. "He stood in front of one of our most treasured houses of worship and held a Bible for a photo op. He sent troops in camouflage into our streets. He sent tear gas into the air — federal helicopters, too. I knew if he did this to D.C., he would do it to your city or your town."

"I have a 2-year-old daughter," she added. "I want her to grow up in an America where she’s not scared to walk to the store. An America where she’s safe behind the doors of her own home. An America where the president doesn’t fan the flames of racism, and looks out for all of us."

Bowser, speaking from Black Lives Matter Plaza in Washington, said that by electing Biden and Harris, "We will say: 'Next.'"

"We can’t just say those words," she said. "We have to live those words. We have to undo the laws and systems that have codified racism for far too long."

Voters around the country share their story

Longoria kicked off the program by interviewing different people from around the country impacted by President Doanld Trump’s policy decisions.

She spoke to a Pennsylvania farmer hit hard by the trade war, a Texas nurse struggling with reopening amid the pandemic, a small business owner unsure if he can rebound from the coronavirus and a teen activist trying to find new ways to communicate with her peers in the age of social distancing.

DNC begins with national anthem from all states and territories

The Democrats opened the convention with a rendition of "The Star-Spangled Banner" sung by people on video in all 50 states and U.S. territories.

Biden's grandchildren also recited the Pledge of Allegiance. 

And we’re off!

Actress and activist Eva Longoria, who will be emceeing the first night of the Democratic National Convention, introduced Monday’s program with a brief speech. Longoria, co-founder of the Latino Victory Fund, is one of four actresses who will emcee the convention, each on their own night. 

Longoria has been active in politics for more than a decade, contributing significant amounts to getting Latinos elected through Latino Victory and backing Obama's candidacy. She has also worked to improve women's presence in film and recently launched Movimiento Latino to pull in Latino forces to the uprisings begun by the Black Lives Matter Movement.

After she spoke, a series of diverse speakers addressed the convention in a pre-recorded video.

And, with House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., then officially gaveling in the convention, we’re off...

Eva Longoria speaks during the first night of the Democratic National Convention on Monday, Aug. 17, 2020.DNC via AP

Barack Obama drops his summer playlist, features plenty of artists coming to the DNC

Former President Barack Obama dropped the 2020 edition of his habitual summer playlist on Monday. And wouldn't you know it — there's plenty of artists on it slated to perform at the DNC this week!

"Over the past few months, I’ve spent a lot of time listening to music with my family," Obama wrote. "I wanted to share some of my favorites from the summer—including songs from some of the artists at this week’s @DemConvention. Hope you enjoy it."

The listen includes eight artists who will perform at the DNC over the next few days including Leon Bridges, Common, Billie Eilish and Jennifer Hudson. 

Also making the list: classics from Bob Marley & The Wailers ("Could You Be Loved") and Billie Holiday ("I'll Be Seeing You") along with a bevy of newer hits. (This reporter is partial to "12.38" from Childish Gambino.)

An early #tbt from Jill Biden

Perez says no more Democratic caucuses

The Associated Press

Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez said Monday that the handful of 2020 presidential caucuses should be the last the party ever holds.

He didn’t specifically name Iowa, which for decades has led off the nominating calendar, but his position would represent a seismic shift in the party’s traditions.

Perez’s term as chair will end before the 2024 nominating calendar is determined.

But he told The Associated Press on the opening day of the Democratic National Convention that he plans to “use the bully pulpit as a former chair to make sure we continue the progress” of changes after the bitter 2016 primary fight between nominee Hillary Clinton and runner-up Bernie Sanders.

Read more here.

Trump keeps joking about not leaving office

Trump made multiple comments about staying in the White House beyond just two terms during campaign visits to Minnesota and Wisconsin Monday.

"But if I don’t win [Minnesota] this time I'm never coming back. Never. Not for term three, four, five or six," Trump said at a stop in Mankato, Minnesota.

Later, in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, Trump said "we are going to win four more years. And then after that we'll go for another four years, because they spied on my campaign. We should get a redo of four years."

The Constitution limits the president to two terms. 

Democrats and other government watchdogs have warned that Trump could be unwilling to accept the November election results if he loses, throwing a bedrock of American democracy — peaceful transition of power — into peril. 

"The only way we’re going to lose this election is if the election is rigged," Trump said during his stop in Wisconsin. "Remember that."

Ex-Bloomberg staffers ask DNC to remove Bloomberg from convention lineup

Six staffers who worked for billionaire Mike Bloomberg's short-lived 2020 presidential campaign wrote an open letter on Monday asking Democrats to remove their former boss from the convention speaking lineup.

"We are Democrats who worked as field staffers for Mike Bloomberg’s 2020 presidential campaign across the country and were wrongfully terminated in March 2020 along with 2,000 other field staffers, when Bloomberg broke his promise to employ us through the November 2020 general election," the letter, which was addressed to Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez. 

"We write to ask you and the DNC to remove Mike Bloomberg from the slate of speakers at the Democratic National Convention on Thursday night," they added.

The DNC did not immediately respond to requests for comment from NBC News. The letter was signed by Alexis Sklair, Sterling Rettke, Nathaniel Brown, Brian Giles, Jocelyn Reynolds and Caryn Austen.

After Bloomberg ended his failed presidential bid in March, he terminated his campaign staff. The letter's authors then filed a class action lawsuit against the Bloomberg campaign alleging that it broke New York state law by not following through on a pledge to keep staffers employed through the election this fall. 

"The impact of Bloomberg’s broken promises has been devastating," the former aides wrote. "Many staffers have faced severe financial struggles."

"We have never been given an explanation about why Mike Bloomberg broke his promises to over 2,000 staffers he wrongfully terminated," they added.

A Bloomberg spokesman called the letter a "stunt" and "distraction" from Donald Trump. Instead of keeping his campaign intact through the election, Bloomberg transferred $18 million in resources to the DNC. 

"Like every campaign that ends, people were let go," the spokesman said in a statement. "Unlike other campaigns however, Mike Bloomberg gave his staff health insurance through November as well as severance." 

Trump says he will deliver RNC speech live from White House

President Donald Trump announced Monday that he will deliver his Republican National Convention speech live from the White House next Thursday, ending weeks of speculation after he called off plans to hold his address in Jacksonville, Florida. 

Democrats are "making speeches that are taped. Who wants to listen to Michelle Obama do a taped speech?" Trump said, speaking at a scaled-down campaign rally in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, on Monday afternoon. 

"But we’re doing a real speech on Thursday, next Thursday, so you’ll be listening. Doing it live from the White House," Trump said. 

Former government officials and watchdogs have warned that Trump will violate ethics norms by holding a political speech at the White House. Administration officials involved with the event could also be in jeopardy of violating the Hatch Act, experts say. 

Michelle Obama speech will stress Biden's empathy

Marianna Sotomayor

Mike Memoli and Marianna Sotomayor

When Michelle Obama headlines the Democratic convention Monday night, she will stress how Biden's character, empathy and faith has made him the necessary leader for the moment as Americans look for honest guidance amid a trio of crises.   

In a clip of her speech released earlier Monday, the former first lady points to the losses Biden has overcome as proof he can relate to those suffering from the broken economy and the coronavirus pandemic.

"His life is a testament to getting back up and he’s going to channel that same grit and passion to pick us all up. To help us heal and guide us forward," she says.

The brief clip also serves as the first look at what Americans will see during the virtual convention, which kicks off tonight. Obama, like so many people speaking to a camera during the pandemic, sits casually on a chair in front of a bookshelf.

Obama is also expected to revive her famous line from the Democrats' 2016 convention— "When they go low, we go high"— redefining what exactly it means to take the higher road when confronted by ideologies Democrats do not agree with. 

"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," she is expected to say. "Going high means standing fierce against hatred while remembering that we are one nation under God, and if we want to survive, we’ve got to find a way to live together and work together across our differences."

The former first lady remains one of the nation’s most popular political figures, but one who has used her political influence sparingly. She said in her recently-launched podcast that she has been feeling "some form of low-grade depression” amid the quarantine, racial strife following the death of George Floyd and “just seeing this administration.”

What to expect from Bernie Sanders' DNC speech

Shaquille Brewster

Gary Grumbach and Shaquille Brewster

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., will deliver a forceful eight-minute address at the convention Monday night, focusing on the importance of defeating a president whom he calls the most dangerous in U.S. history, his aides tell NBC News.

"This election is the most important in the modern history of this country," Sanders will say, according to planned remarks. "In response to the unprecedented set of 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 authoritarianism."

He is also expected to say: "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 to imagine."

Sanders’ supporters got a hint of his message in a fundraising email sent earlier Monday.

"In this unprecedented moment in American history, we have two major tasks in front of us," the email said. "First, we must do everything possible to defeat Donald Trump and elect Joe Biden as our next president. Second, the day after Biden is elected we must mobilize grassroots America to make certain that Biden, a Democratic House and a Democratic Senate pass the most progressive agenda since FDR and the 1930s. We must create a government that works for all, not just the 1% and powerful special interests."

Latinos downgrade Trump on pandemic

A growing share of Latinos are giving Trump poor marks for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, while their support of Biden ratchets up.

That’s some of the findings of a Latino Decisions poll released on the opening day of the Democrats' virtual convention. 

The poll shows 70 percent of Latinos disapprove of how Trump is dealing with the spread of COVID-19 and 66 percent of registered Latino voters say they are backing Biden. 

Gary Segura, a principal at Latino Decisions, a Democratic polling firm, says the response to COVID-19 is the “gorilla at the table” and that Latinos view Trump’s response to the pandemic as the cause of the crisis.

Trump kicks off his DNC counterprogramming

President Donald Trump returned to the campaign trail on Monday for the first time in weeks, holding a rally with hundreds of supporters at an airport in Mankato, Minnesota. 

"I almost won last time,” Trump said of Minnesota. “One more speech, I would have won, it was so close. But if I don’t win this time I'm never coming back. Never. Not for term three, four, five or six."

Trump launched his usual attacks at Democrats, criticizing Biden and Harris hours before the DNC is slated to start. Trump also went after Hillary Clinton, his 2016 opponent, calling her "Crooked Hillary" as the crowd cheered. 

The president will continue campaigning Monday afternoon in Wisconsin.

Ex-Trump administration official endorses Biden, says serving Trump was 'terrifying'

A former Trump administration official endorsed former Vice President Joe Biden for president on Monday, saying what he witnessed in serving under Trump for two years was "terrifying."

In a testimonial released by the group Republican Voters Against Trump, Miles Taylor, a former chief of staff at the Department of Homeland Security, said the president "wasn't interested" in cybersecurity and terrorism issues and sought to "exploit" Homeland Security.

Taylor also alleged that Trump once directed the Federal Emergency Management Agency to "stop giving money to people whose houses had burned down from a wildfire because he was so rageful that people in the state of California didn't support him and that politically, it wasn't a base for him."

When pushed to take actions Taylor described as "impossible" or "illegal," the former administration official said Trump "didn't want us to tell him it was illegal" because Trump said he had "magical authorities."

Taylor ultimately said he had to support Biden despite their political differences because the former VP will "protect the country" unlike Trump.

White House spokesman Judd Deere responded to Taylor, calling him "another creature of the D.C. Swamp who never understood the importance of the President’s agenda or why the American people elected him and clearly just wants to cash-in." 

Taylor's testimonial came alongside a Washington Post op-ed he authored on his endorsement and tenure in the Trump administration. During the first night of the Democratic National Convention on Monday, Republicans like former Govs. John Kasich of like Ohio and Christine Todd Whitman of New Jersey, as well as former Rep. Susan Molinari, R-N.Y., will speak on Biden's behalf.

Sanders delegates still not sold on Biden-Harris ticket, survey says

As Bernie Sanders prepares to address the Democratic National Convention tonight, a new survey of hundreds of his delegates shows many of them are still not sold on the Joe Biden-Kamala Harris ticket. 

The survey, conducted by the Bernie Delegates Network, a coalition of leftwing groups, found one third of responding delegates said they “strongly disapprove” of the ticket, while 19 percent “somewhat disapprove,” 24 percent are “ambivalent,” 17 percent “somewhat approve” and only 7 percent “strongly approve.”

The group said 510 Sanders delegates responded to their survey, which is a little less than half of the former Democratic contender's 1,119 total delegates, so it’s possible those who chose to respond to the survey represent an especially hardcore set of Sanders supporters and not the views his delegates overall, let alone all Sanders supporters. 

Four years ago, at the 2016 Democratic National Convention, Sanders delegates booed their own candidate for urging them to vote for Hillary Clinton, and hundreds walked out in protest. While the Sanders wing of the party seems more integrated with the party and committed to defeating President Donald Trump this year, activists say the survey indicates Biden and Harris still have work to do. 

“This survey shows that the Biden-Harris team needs to go further to unify the party in order to crush Trump in November,” said Jeff Cohen, a Sanders delegate from New York and a co-founder of, one of the groups behind the Bernie Delegates Network. “Bernie delegates are some of the most dedicated activists and respected Democrats in their communities, and hundreds of them are influential grassroots leaders in battleground states.”

Former GOP House Speaker John Boehner won't be endorsing Biden, spox informs

Jesse Rodriguez

Jesse Rodriguez and Ben Kesslen

Former GOP Speaker of the House John Boehner won't be backing Joe Biden, his spokesperson said, dousing speculation that an endorsement could be afoot.

"I think he’d rather set himself on fire than get involved in the election," the spokesperson said.

Boehner's spox made clear the former Ohio politician was not speaking at the convention after a growing slate of prominent Republicans have announced their support for Biden and are set to take the virtual stage Monday evening.

Since leaving Congress, Boehner has worked for tobacco and cannabis companies. 

Republican John Kasich takes swipe at AOC ahead of his DNC speech

Former Ohio governor and 2016 GOP presidential candidate John Kasich criticized Rep. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., ahead of his Monday night speech at the DNC.

Kasich, who will be speaking out against Trump, his former 2016 primary opponent, told Buzzfeed News that he thinks “this country is moderate” and those on the “extreme” get too much attention.

“You know, I listen to people all the time make these statements, and because AOC gets outsized publicity doesn't mean she represents the Democratic Party,” Kasich said. “She's just a part, just some member of it.”

A CBS News poll released over the weekend said only 38 percent of Democrats would like to hear from Kasich at the convention. Sixty-three percent said they’d like to hear from Ocasio-Cortez, who will reportedly have just 60 seconds to speak. 

Democratic National Convention: 5 things to watch for on Night 1

WASHINGTON — No one has ever done this before.

Democrats will be guinea pigs in their own experiment Monday night as they kick off the first of four nights of an all-virtual Democratic National Convention.

Because of the coronavirus crisis, Democrats scrapped the podiums and packed arenas for two hours of programming each night that will look more like a TV special than a traditional convention. (In fact, the event is being produced by an executive producer of the Super Bowl halftime show and the Tony Awards).

That means shorter speaking slots and fewer of them, more opportunity for alternative formats and backdrops — and also more ways for something to go wrong. Meanwhile, much remains a mystery about what President Donald Trump plans for his Republican National Convention, which starts next Monday.

Here are five things to watch.

Biden remains ahead of Trump nationally on eve of conventions in NBC News/WSJ poll

Mark Murray

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump continues to trail Democratic challenger Joe Biden nationally as more than 60 percent of voters say America’s response to the coronavirus has been unsuccessful and just one-in-five believe the U.S. economy is on solid footing.

Those are the major findings from the latest national NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, which was conducted during the pandemic that has killed more than 170,000 Americans and as the presidential race enters a new phase, with the party conventions beginning on Monday just days after Biden's selection of Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., as his running mate.

According to the survey, Biden leads Trump nationally by 9 points among registered voters, 50 percent to 41 percent, and the former vice president holds double-digit advantages over Trump on the coronavirus, immigration, health care, race relations and uniting the country. What’s more, the poll shows Harris with a higher net personal rating than either Trump or Biden.

Read the full story.

Kasich, several other prominent Republicans to speak at convention tonight

Rebecca Shabadis in Washington, D.C.

In addition to former Ohio Gov. John Kasich, several other Republicans, including former elected officials, are expected to endorse Joe Biden in speeches Monday night at the convention during a segment called “We the People, Putting Country Over Party."

Former New Jersey Gov. Christine Todd Whitman will be the first Republican to speak, according to a schedule released Monday morning. She served as governor from 1994 until January 2001 and soon after became the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency under President George W. Bush. Whitman endorsed former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld during the 2020 Republican primaries. 

Meg Whitman, the former CEO of Hewlett Packard who ran for governor of California as a Republican in 2010, will be the next to speak. Whitman, who currently serves as the CEO of short-form streaming platform Quibi, was a senior member on Sen. Mitt Romney’s, R-Utah, presidential campaigns in 2008 and 2012. Whitman, however, supported Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election. 

And former Rep. Susan Molinari, R-N.Y., is scheduled to speak before Kasich. She served as the vice chairwoman of the House Republican Conference from 1995 to 1997 and served in the House from 1990 to 1997.

PLAN YOUR VOTE: A state-by-state guide to voting by mail and early in-person voting

NBC News

When is the deadline to register to vote? Can I vote by mail without an excuse?

Plan Your Vote is a new, interactive tool from NBC News and MSNBC, which encourages Americans to plan when and how they will vote, taking into account each state’s coronavirus pandemic restrictions, mail-in ballot rules, early in-person voting and more. 

This comprehensive, state-by-state guide includes the most up-to-date information for voters across the country. It's everything you need to know about casting a ballot in the 2020 election, wherever you live. And we'll be updating it as rules change — which could happen right up until Election Day.

Try the tool here

Dems' hunger to break the old political system grows ahead of election

WASHINGTON — As they kick off an all-virtual convention this week, Democrats aren't just pursuing more progressive policies than they have in generations: Party leaders are also warming up to changing the rules of a system many of their voters decry as undemocratic.

Former Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid has called for abolishing the rule that effectively requires 60 votes to pass legislation in the Senate. Top Democratic senators say they want to abolish the Electoral College and pick presidents by popular vote. The House voted in June to grant statehood to Washington, D.C. And Democrats are eyeing language in the platform calling for "structural" change to the Supreme Court.

"There's a youth revolution going on in the party," said Howard Dean, who was chairman of the Democratic National Committee. "You're going to see a real reform movement — not just in Congress, which will resist for institutional reasons, but you'll see it in the country. And that's what you're going to see at this convention."

Read the full story.

ANALYSIS: On convention eve, Democrats are apprehensive

WASHINGTON — On the eve of a nominating convention unlike any other, many Democratic insiders are deeply apprehensive about the November election.

They've seen standard-bearers seize leads in the summer only to swoon in the fall. They've watched President Donald Trump pull an Electoral College rabbit out of a red "MAGA" hat. And now, they are looking on in real-time horror, seemingly powerless, as Trump discredits and guts a Postal Service necessary for mail-in balloting.

That admixture all contributes to concern that mid-August polling — an NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey released Sunday showed Democrat Joe Biden with a 9-point lead over Trump — doesn't reflect the reality of where the race will stand come November.

Read the analysis.

Longoria, other entertainment activists to emcee DNC

Marianna Sotomayor

Democrats have lined up a group of influential actresses and activists to headline each night of the Democratic National Convention this week, former Vice President Joe Biden’s campaign confirmed.

Eva Longoria, Kerry Washington, former “Veep” star Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and Tracee Ellis Ross will each emcee a night of the convention, with Longoria on Monday, Ross  on Tuesday, Washington on Wednesday and Louis-Dreyfus on the convention’s final day on Thursday.

Three of the four are minorities: Longoria co-founded the Latino Victory Fund and held a “Presidente Finance  Council” fundraiser for Biden recently as she continues to bring Hispanic voters into the party. Washington and Ross are both Black American women who have devoted their work to numerous causes uplifting their communities’ voices.

DNC Chair Perez says party's focus this week will be that Trump is 'chronically incompetent'

Rebecca Shabadis in Washington, D.C.

Tom Perez, the chairman of the Democratic National Committee, said Monday that the party will focus at the convention this week on casting President Donald Trump as “chronically incompetent.” 

On MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” Perez said that coronavirus fatalities have surpassed 170,000, a grim death toll that he said was preventable.

“This is why we need leadership that is competent — that is Joe Biden,” he said. 

Perez also said the Trump administration's actions regarding the Postal Service have boosted Democrats’ case for expanding mail-in ballots this election, which he said will help them in ongoing litigation. In Wisconsin, for example, a judge has to “make a really important switch in the deadline" for ballots, he said.

“In April, we were able to persuade the judge that as long as the ballots were postmarked by Election Day, as opposed to received by Election Day, they would count,” he said. “That enfranchised over 90,000 voters. Every day that this administration does what it does by playing politics with the Postal Service, they are making our record for us.”

Democrats tap an array of faith leaders to speak at convention

Associated Press

The Episcopal bishop of Washington, D.C., who criticized President Donald Trump after he held a Bible aloft at a photo op at a historic church in her diocese, is among the diverse group of faith leaders selected by Democrats to speak at their presidential nominating convention.

Bishop Mariann Budde will deliver the benediction on Tuesday, the second night of the convention, according to a list shared with The Associated Press. The convention will be almost entirely virtual, with online video addresses. Other faith leaders scheduled to speak include the Rev. Gabriel Salguero, the Florida-based pastor who founded the National Latino Evangelical Coalition; Jerry Young of the Mississippi-based New Hope Baptist Church; Archbishop Elpidophoros, leader of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America; and Rabbi Lauren Berkun, vice president of the Shalom Hartman Institute of North America.

Berkun is one of four faith leaders from three religious traditions who are scheduled to speak on Thursday, the convention's final day. Also set to speak on Thursday are Sister Simone Campbell, executive director of the advocacy group NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice and a longtime Biden ally dating to the push to pass President Barack Obama's health care plan; the Rev. James Martin, a Jesuit priest and editor at large of the Jesuit magazine America; and Imam Al-Hajj Talib ’Abdur-Rashid, a Muslim social justice activist who leads the New York-based Mosque of Islamic Brotherhood.

2020 Democratic National Convention: 'Virtually' everything you need to know

The Democratic National Convention is set to kick off next week — and thanks to coronavirus precautions, it will look much different than the traditional quadrennial four-day presidential nominating event.

The large crowds of political boosters originally planned to swarm into swing state Wisconsin aren't coming, and even the presumptive Democratic nominee won't be in Milwaukee — Joe Biden will accept the nomination virtually.

Here's everything you need to know about the event.