Democrats rally behind Biden

Source: AFP Published: 2020/8/18 16:53:41

Party faithful show unity as Michelle Obama blasts Trump

Former US first lady Michelle Obama (right), actress Julia Roberts (second from left) and Jenna Bush Hager (left), daughter of former US president George W. Bush, meet Vietnamese students in Can Giuoc district, Long An province on Monday. They were on a visit to promote girls' education in Vietnam. Photo: AFP

US Democrats opened their nominating convention Monday with a show of unity behind Joe Biden and former first lady Michelle Obama delivering a scathing rebuke of Donald Trump as she urged voters to reject his politics of "division."

"Donald Trump is the wrong president for our country," Barack Obama's wife said in a keynote speech on the first night of a convention that has shifted entirely online due to the novel coronavirus pandemic. 

"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."

The pretaped remarks came as unprecedented criticism by a former first lady of a sitting US president, painting him as a man who lacks the competence, character or decency for the job.

It was a potent message for voters who tuned in unsure of what to expect from a virtual convention that lacked the showstopping pizzazz and stagecraft of a live event.

With the Democratic Party poised to officially anoint the 77-year-old Biden as its nominee, Trump defied coronavirus concerns and staged a competing event in Wisconsin, the state where Democrats were supposed to hold their in-person convention. 

The carefully choreographed opening for the four-day unifying gathering featured actress Eva Longoria as convention moderator. 

"Every four years we come together to reaffirm our democracy," she said. 

"This year we've come to save it," she noted.

Dozens of speakers, including a host of Republicans opposed to Trump, offered a similar message.

In a poignant moment, everyday American Kristine Urquiza described how her father died from coronavirus after going out with friends when he believed the pandemic was not serious.

"His only preexisting condition was trusting Donald Trump, and for that he paid with his life," Urquiza said.

Obama also took pains to describe Biden as a "terrific vice president" she grew to know well during the eight years he served as her husband's number two.


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