Michelle Obama slams Trump on opening night of 2020 Democratic National Convention, which is being held in a virtual format.
By Albert Traver /EFE
Former United States first lady Michelle Obama made a powerful call for the defeat of President Donald Trump in her keynote speech on Monday on the opening night of the 2020 Democratic National Convention, which is being held in a virtual format on account of the coronavirus pandemic.
“Let me be as honest and clear as I possibly can. Donald Trump is the wrong president for our country. He has had more than enough time to prove that he can do the job but he is clearly in over his head. He cannot meet this moment. He simply cannot be who we need him to be for us. It is what it is," Obama said.
She also spoke about the divisions in the country in her pre-recorded speech.
“Now, I understand that my message won’t be heard by some people. We live in a nation that is deeply divided, and I am a Black woman speaking at the Democratic convention,” she said.
“But enough of you know me by now. You know that I tell you exactly what I’m feeling. You know I hate politics. But you also know that I care about this nation. You know how much I care about all of our children.”
She also warned those watching the convention that if there was one message they should walk away with, it was that the situation could get worse.
"So if you take one thing from my words tonight, it is this: if you think things cannot possibly get worse, trust me, they can, and they will if we don't make a change in this election," added Obama, who urged people to "vote for Joe Biden like our lives depend on it."
Obama's speech was the star address of the first day of the convention, which lasted for barely two hours, much shorter than previous editions.
Very few of the other participants, who also mostly made pre-recorded speeches, stood out nor caught the attention of the media or social media like the former first lady.
The exception was perhaps Senator Bernie Sanders, who ended his campaign and threw his support behind Joe Biden in the face of the "path of authoritarianism" that, in his view, the Trump administration has taken.
"Let me take this opportunity to say a word to the millions who supported my campaign this year and in 2016," said Sanders.
"Many of the ideas we fought for, that just a few years ago were considered 'radical,' are now mainstream. But, let us be clear, if Donald Trump is re-elected, all the progress we have made will be in jeopardy," added the senator, who received 10 million votes in the primaries in which he faced Biden.
Sanders emphasized that the upcoming Nov. 3 elections will be "the most important in the modern history of this country," saying that, under Trump's administration, "authoritarianism has taken root in our country."
Sanders, who leads the party's left wing, called on progressives, moderates and conservatives to work together to fight a president who, he added, "is not only incapable of addressing these crises but is leading us down the path of authoritarianism."
"Nero fiddled while Rome burned. Trump golfs," he said.
The Democrats had also invited victims of the two crises that have rocked the country in recent months and which Trump has been accused of failing to manage: the COVID-19 epidemic and police violence.
Philonise Floyd, brother of George Floyd, whose death in May in the custody of a white police officer in Minneapolis sparked a wave of racial justice protests across the country, took part in the convention.
"George should be alive today. Breonna Taylor should be alive today. 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 said, listing those also killed in alleged racially biased incidents and for whom he led a moment of silence.
The other speaker was Kristin Urquiza, who lost her father in June to COVID-19, which has already claimed 170,000 lives in the US, more than in any other country.
"I’m one of the many who have lost a loved one to COVID. My dad, Mark Anthony Urquiza, should be here today, but he isn’t,” she said.
"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.”
Trump was very active on Twitter during the first day of the Democratic convention although he completely ignored Biden and directed his anger against New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who slammed the White House for its handling of the pandemic.
The US president fired off a dozen tweets and retweets against Cuomo, blaming him for the more than 32,000 coronavirus deaths in his state.
In a statement on Monday night, the Trump 2020 campaign's national press secretary Hogan Gidley said "if Joe Biden had been president, the coronavirus crisis would be dramatically worse."
"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," he added.
Text and photos: EFE