Joe Biden vowed to heal a country battered by a deadly pandemic and an economic catastrophe by uniting all Americans, while warning that President Donald Trump would go on stoking hatred and fear if elected to another four-year term.
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“Here and now, I give you my word: if you entrust me with the presidency, Ill draw on the best of us, not the worst,” Biden said as he accepted the Democratic presidential nomination for an election 75 days away.
“Ill be an ally of the light, not the darkness.”
The speech — the capstone of a nearly five-decade political career — was delivered inside an empty arena in his hometown of Wilmington, Delaware, at the conclusion of the four-day Democratic National Convention, which was held virtually because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The former US senator and vice president described the current moment as one of historical import, amid a health crisis over the coronavirus, a recession, a national reckoning on race and a battle over the environment.
He promised to represent all Americans and to work “just as hard” for those who do not support him, drawing an implicit contrast with the Republican Trump, who has shown little inclination to appeal beyond his base of voters.
Biden also offered a withering assessment of his opponents response to the pandemic.
“Our current president has failed in his most basic duty to the nation: he has failed to protect us,” Biden said.
Analyzing Joe Bidens DNC acceptance speech
Several Democrats who challenged Biden for the nomination — US Senators Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Amy Klobuchar and Cory Booker; former US Representative Beto ORourke; and entrepreneur Andrew Yang — praised Bidens empathy and leadership in a taped conversation.
Another former rival, billionaire and former Republican Michael Bloomberg, said Trump had failed both as a businessman and as a president.
“Im not asking you to vote against Donald Trump because hes a bad guy. Im urging you to vote against him because hes done a bad job,” said Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York City.
“And let me tell you a little secret. Donald Trumps economic plan was to give a huge tax cut to guys like me, who didnt need it. And then lie about it to everyone else,” he said.
As they have throughout the week, Democrats emphasized the importance of voting amid the pandemic and warned against efforts to suppress the vote. Trumps repeated, unsubstantiated claims that mail-in ballots are rife with fraud, coupled with cuts to the US Postal Service, have fueled fears that some voters may be disenfranchised.
“Voting is the oxygen of our democracy,” California Secretary of State Alex Padilla said via video.
The program offered some light-hearted moments from its moderator, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who portrayed a US vice president in the comedy television show “Veep,” and took some digs at both Trump and Vice President Mike Pence.
“When Donald Trump spoke at his inauguration about American carnage, I assumed that was something he was against, not a campaign promise,” she said.
The day offered new fodder for the Biden campaign to highlight what convention speaker after speaker has characterized as Trumps chaotic four years in office.
Steve Bannon, an architect of Trumps 2016 election victory, was arrested on fraud charges, while in New York a judge ruled Trump cannot block a prosecutors subpoena for eight years of his tax returns.
Trump on Thursday denied knowing about the organization linked to Bannons arrest, which had sought donations to help build a wall on the US-Mexico border that was Trumps signature 2016 campaign promise.
“I feel very badly. I havent been dealing with him for a long period of time,” Trump said. He also appealed the decision on his tax returns.
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