Day 2 of the all-virtual Democratic National Convention included Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, former President Bill Clinton and Jill Biden.
The night featured the formal nomination of Joe Biden for president in addition to the convention’s keynote address, which is often a top draw of the week. Democrats attempted a new format for the keynote, which was delivered in split screen by 17 young Democratic officials, many speaking from their homes.
The event was emceed by the actress Tracee Ellis Ross. It followed Michelle Obama’s speech on Monday tearing into President Donald Trump.
The convention will continue on Wednesday and Thursday, with addresses by Biden and his running mate California Sen. Kamala Harris and former President Barack Obama. The Republican National Convention begins next week.
Here are the top moments from Day 2 of the DNC.
Jill Biden asks how you make a nation whole
Jill Biden made a passionate and personal argument for her husband, saying the newly minted Democratic nominee knows what it will take to make a broken nation whole, because he has done the same in his own family.
“How do you make a broken family whole? The same way you make a nation whole. With love and understanding-and with small acts of compassion. With bravery. With unwavering faith,” she said, referring to the 1972 car crash that killed Biden’s first wife and baby daughter and made him a single father to two little boys.
“There are times when I couldn’t imagine how he did it — how he put one foot in front of the other and kept going,” she continued. “But I’ve always understood why he did it. … He does it for you.”
Biden delivered her speech live from the actual classroom at Brandywine High School in Wilmington, Delaware, where she taught English from 1991-1993. She used the school as a backdrop to pivot to the coronavirus pandemic, and whether schools can be opened safely.
“You can hear the anxiety that echoes down empty hallways. There’s no scent of new notebooks or freshly waxed floors” at Brandywine High, she said. “The rooms are dark, and the bright young faces that should fill them are confined to boxes on a computer screen.”
At the end of her remarks, her husband appeared and embraced her. “She’s the strongest person I know,” he said.
Bill Clinton: ‘Our choice is Joe Biden’
Near the start of the evening, former President Bill Clinton took on Trump’s handling of Covid-19.
“At a time like this, the Oval Office should be a command center. Instead, it’s a storm center. There’s only chaos,” Clinton said. “Just one thing never changes — his determination to deny responsibility and shift the blame. The buck never stops there.”
“Now you have to decide whether to renew his contract or hire someone else,” Clinton added. “If you want a president who defines the job as spending hours a day watching TV and zapping people on social media, he’s your man.”
Instead, Clinton said, “our choice is Joe Biden.”
“Joe helped bring us back from a recession before, and he can do it again,” Clinton said.
Colin Powell boosts Biden’s national security bona fides
The convention continued with the theme of bipartisanship that kicked off on Monday with a speech from former Ohio GOP Gov. John Kasich.
On Tuesday, Republican Colin Powell, former Secretary of State to George W. Bush, delivered a rousing endorsement of Biden and his ability to be commander-in-chief.
“Joe Biden will be a president we will all be proud to salute,” Powell said during in a video message. “With Joe Biden in the White House, you will never doubt that he will stand with our friends and stand up to our adversaries — never the other way around.”
Cindy McCain, wife of the late GOP Sen. John McCain, also appeared on Tuesday to talk up her husband’s friendship with Biden, though she stopped short of delivering an endorsement.
Security guard who met Biden in elevator officially nominates him for president
A woman who went viral telling Biden that she loved him in an elevator last year became the first person to officially nominate him for president on Tuesday.
Jacquelyn Asbie, a security guard who was videoed in an elevator with Biden on his way to a meeting with The New York Times editorial board, said in her recorded nomination that “Joe Biden has room in his heart for more than just himself.”
“I take powerful people up in my elevator all the time. When they get off, they go to their important meetings. Me? I just head back to the lobby,” Asbie said. “But in the short time I spent with Joe Biden, I could tell he really saw me, that he actually cared, that my life meant something to him.”
“And I knew, even when he went into his important meeting, he’d take my story in there with him,” she added.
AOC nominates Sanders
Progressive freshman Rep. Ocasio-Cortez of New York used the 60 seconds she was allocated to nominate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., for president, in a speech that touched on health care and human rights.
“In a time when millions of people in the United States are looking for deep systemic solutions to our crises of mass evictions, unemployment, and lack of health care, and espiritu del pueblo, and out of a love for all people, I hereby second the nomination of Senator Bernard Sanders of Vermont for president of the United States of America,” Ocasio-Cortez said.
Ultimately, as expected, Biden was officially named the party nominee. Sanders came in second place. Ocasio-Cortez has said she will vote for Biden but has not endorsed him.
Paralyzed activist calls for fixing a broken health-care system
Ady Barkan, a progressive activist who has pushed for “Medicare for All,” endorsed Biden in an emotional video despite Biden’s opposition to the legislation. Barkan, who is paralyzed as a result of Lou Gehrig’s disease, addressed the convention through a voice synthesizer.
“Even during this terrible crisis, Donald Trump and Republican politicians are trying to take away millions of people’s health insurance. With the existential threat of another four years of this president, we all have a profound obligation to act, not only to vote, but to make sure that our friends, family, and neighbors vote as well,” Barkan said.
“We must elect Joe Biden,” he added. “Each of us must be a hero for our communities, for our country, and then, with a compassionate and intelligent president, we must act together and put on his desk a bill that guarantees us all the health care we deserve.”