Mike Bloomberg addresses the 2020 Democratic National Convention on Aug. 20th, 2020.
The fourth and final night of the Democratic National Convention culminated Thursday with Joe Biden accepting the party’s presidential nomination.
In his address, Biden not only eviscerated President Donald Trump‘s handling of his first term but also portrayed himself as the best candidate to combat overlapping economic and health-care crises. During a period of reckoning over entrenched racism and economic injustice in America, the former vice president promised to “draw on the best of us, not the worst” and “be an ally of the light, not the darkness.”
Outside of the main event, the night featured testimonials from Biden’s family members, former primary opponents and strangers he has met over the course of his career. The event continued another theme of the week in former Republicans switching their allegiance to Biden.
Here are some of the highlights from the fourth night of the Democratic convention.
Bloomberg picks apart Trump
More of the ex-rivals Biden defeated in a jammed Democratic presidential primary spoke on his behalf Thursday. Former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg reserved the most venom for Trump.
“When confronted with the biggest calamity any president has faced in the modern era, Donald Trump spent the year downplaying the threat, ignoring science, and recommending quack cures, which let COVID-19 spread much faster than it should’ve, leaving hundreds of thousands needlessly sick or dead. He has failed the American people, catastrophically,” said Bloomberg, who noted he has at points in his life been a Republican, Democrat and independent.
“Four years ago, I came before this very convention and said New Yorkers know a con when we see one. But tonight, I’m not asking you to vote against Trump because he’s a bad guy. I’m urging you to vote against him because he’s done a bad job,” he continued.
Bloomberg got the president’s attention. Shortly after he spoke, Trump responded to his remarks in a tweet.
He contended Bloomberg “is trying to make a comeback by begging the Democrats for relevance.”
“They treated him like a dog — and always will. Before politics, he said GREAT things about me!” Trump wrote.
Two other 2020 Democratic primary candidates gave remarks to lift Biden, and several others discussed the party’s presidential nominee on a video call.
Former 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Senator Cory Booker speaks during the 4th and final night of the 2020 Democratic National Convention, as participants from across the country are hosted over video links from the originally planned site of the convention in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, U.S. August 20, 2020.
DNC | Reuters
Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., said Biden’s support for union rights and a higher federal minimum wage would help to lift Americans out of poverty.
Former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, a gay man, highlighted the fact that Biden supported marriage equality before most in his party did.
A helping hand
Democrats spent much of the night trying to paint a picture of an empathetic and generous Biden. One of the most compelling moments came when 13-year-old Brayden Harrington addressed a national audience to tell the story of how Biden helped him overcome a stutter.
The Democratic presidential nominee has had to work through a stutter of his own during roughly 50 years as a public official. Harrington, who met Biden in New Hampshire, said the former vice president taught him the methods he used to get past his speaking difficulties.
Brayden Harrington speaks by video feed about the bond he shares with Joe Biden over stuttering during the 4th and final night of the 2020 Democratic National Convention
DNC | Reuters
He said Biden showed him how he marked his speeches to make it easier to say them out loud. Harrington turned his address toward the camera to show where he wrote on it, following Biden’s advice.
“I’m just a regular kid, and in a short amount of time, Joe Biden made me more confident about something that’s bothered me my whole life. Joe Biden cared,” Harrington said.
Surgeon general’s warning
Former U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy started his Democratic convention speech by acknowledging the position is not political.
But he said he came off the sidelines to endorse Biden because he believes the former vice president is best equipped to combat the raging coronavirus pandemic.
“We need a leader who works with states to ensure that everyone who needs a test gets one and gets results quickly, a leader who secures a safe, effective vaccine and distributes it quickly and fairly, a leader who inspires us to practice distancing and wear masks, not as a political statement but as a patriotic duty, a commitment we make to one another,” said Murthy, who served as surgeon general from 2014 to 2017 during the Obama administration.
“That’s why I’m here tonight, not because of politics or for party but because I know Joe Biden can be that leader,” he said.
A veteran turns from Trump
Ed Good, a 95-year-old veteran of World War II and the Korean War, told the convention he has been a Republican since the 1960s. He voted for Trump and is a member of the National Rifle Association.
Good endorsed Biden for president.
“I think Trump has been the worst president we’ve ever had, so I’ll be glad to see him go,” he said.
A night with more comedy
For better or worse, Democrats weaved more comedy into the fourth night of their convention.
It mostly came from moderator Julia Louis-Dreyfus, the actress most recently known for playing foul-mouthed Vice President Selina Meyer on HBO’s “Veep.” In a shift from the first three nights of the event, jokes often led into somber speeches about the crises the country faces.
“Joe Biden goes to church so regularly that he doesn’t even need tear gas and a bunch of federalized troops to help him get there,” she said, referencing the June protest dispersed in Washington D.C. before Trump posed with a bible in front of St. John’s Episcopal Church.
The night also featured a video of Sarah Cooper, the comedian known for her impersonations of Trump over audio of his comments. After acting out Trump’s comments criticizing mail-in ballots, she made a sincere plea about voting rights and the president’s efforts to stifle vote-by-mail plans.
“Whether you plan to vote by mail or in person wearing your mask, it is your vote and it’s your right. Don’t let Donald Trump take that away from you,” she said.