In this image from video, former first lady Michelle Obama speaks during the first night of the Democratic National Convention on Monday. (AP)
Due to the pandemic, there were no crowds, and no balloons, but that didn’t diminish the dazzling political star power on the first night of the Democratic National Committee convention.
Michelle Obama gave a powerful and impassioned speech saying that President Trump was not fit for office – not his policies, but his character.
“Whenever we look to this White House for some leadership or consolation or any semblance of steadiness, we get chaos, division, and a total and utter lack of empathy.”
“If you think things cannot possibly get worse, trust me, they can, and they will if we don’t make a change in this election,” she warned. “If we have any hope of ending this chaos, we have got to vote for Joe Biden like our lives depend on it.”
It was a mesmerizing and compelling end to the first night of the convention that opened with the Pledge of Allegiance recited by Joe Biden’s five older grandkids followed by a moving performance of the National Anthem from 57-member youth choir members across America.
Political powerhouses included Mayor Muriel Bowser, Mayor of the District of Columbia who harshly criticized President Donald Trump before introducing the family of George Floyd at the Democratic National Convention’s opening night.
Standing on an outlook above Black Lives Matter Plaza, Bowser said it was time to elect a president who “doesn’t fan the flames of racism.”
“While we were peacefully protesting, Donald Trump was plotting. 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 and federal helicopters.”
The family of George Floyd, the Minnesota man whose death sparked a national awakening on racial injustice, led a moment of silence Monday night in the early moments of the Democratic National Convention.
Speaking from Houston, Texas, one of Floyd’s brothers, Philonise, stood alongside another brother, Rodney, and praised the sweeping protests that followed their brother’s death.
“People of all races, all ages, all genders, all backgrounds, peacefully protesting in the name of love and unity is a fitting legacy for our brother,” he said. “George should be alive today.”
New York Gov. Cuomo, leading the state’s delegation, denounced the federal response to the pandemic and explained that “COVID is the symptom, not the illness and calling the virus “a metaphor,” and “only a strong body can fight off the virus, and America’s divisions weakened it.”
The first day of the convention, entitled, “We the People” incorporated unlikely allies for Biden including Ohio’s former Republican Gov. John Kasich, an anti-abortion conservative who spent decades fighting to cut government spending.
“In normal times, something like this would probably never happen, but these are not normal times,” Kasich said of his participation at the Democrats’ convention. He added: “We can do better than what we’ve been seeing today, for sure.”
None of this went unnoticed by Trump who lashed out at Kasich.
“He was a loser as a Republican and he’ll be a loser as a Democrat. Major loser as a Republican,” said the Republican president to the press pool on board Air Force One. “John was a loser as a Republican. Never even came close. And as a Democrat he’ll be an even greater loser.”
White House spokesperson Kayleigh McEnany, announced her displeasure halfway through the first night of the DNC.
“During this underwhelming DNC, there’s been a whole lot of singing but ZERO explaining of how Joe will… Create jobs, End riots, Stop innocent loss of life,” she said on Twitter.
The former vice president won’t deliver his formal remarks until Thursday night, but he made his first appearance just half an hour into Monday’s event as he moderated a panel on racial justice.
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, a self-described democratic socialist went on to say “Nero fiddles while Rome burns. Trump golfs.”
“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,” Sanders declared.
Democrats abandoned their plans for an in-person gathering in Milwaukee because of the pandemic. The unprecedented gathering is not only testing the bonds of the diverse Biden-Kamala Harris coalition but the practical challenges of running a presidential campaign in the midst of a pandemic.
Biden will accept the nomination Thursday night in a mostly empty ballroom in his home state of Delaware. California Sen. Harris, the first Black woman on a national ticket, speaks Wednesday.
Trump, as he often does, was ensuring he’d be a part of the conversation.
“The only way we’re going to lose this election is if the election is rigged,” Trump said in Wisconsin, raising anew with no evidence the specter of significant voting fraud.
With News Wire Services
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