DNC 2020 Day 1: Michelle Obama, former rivals rally behind Joe Biden

By IVAN PEREIRA and LAUREN KING, ABC News

(MILWAUKEE) — Democrats opened their mostly virtual convention in Milwaukee Monday under the theme of unity, with speakers who represented the party’s progressive and traditional platforms.

“As we have learned throughout our history, when we stand united, we can overcome anything, including the monumental challenges we face today,” the Democratic National Convention Committee said in a release.

Traditionally, political conventions are painstakingly choreographed live productions that are planned years in advance. But the coronavirus pandemic has reduced the nominating celebration to a minimal footprint in Milwaukee — with major programming and production details still in flux even as the event is underway.

Here’s how the night unfolded:

11:31 p.m. Looking ahead to Tuesday

Tuesday’s DNC theme is “Leadership Matters” and the featured speakers will include former acting U.S. Attorney General Sally Yates, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, former Secretary of State John Kerry, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester, former President Bill Clinton and former second lady Dr. Jill Biden.

In addition to these high-profile figures, the keynote address will feature not one, but 17 speakers who the DNC calls “rising stars.” The list includes politically well-known names like Stacey Abrams and Rep. Conor Lamb, but also puts a spotlight on lesser known officials including various representatives, state senators, a commissioner of agriculture, two mayors, and the president of the Navajo Nation. These leaders range in age from 21 to 52 years old.

“The convention keynote has always been the bellwether for the future of our party and our nation,” said Joe Solmonese, CEO of the 2020 Democratic National Convention at the time of the release of the news, “and when Americans tune in … they’ll find the smart, steady leadership we need to meet this critical moment.”

11:26 p.m. Trump campaign responds to first night of the DNC

The Trump Campaign immediately responded to the first night of the Democratic National Convention, citing the lack of — what the campaign has called before — a “radical left” policy from Biden.

Trump 2020 national press secretary Hogan Gidley in a statement said, “Perhaps it was just an oversight, but the first night of the Democrat convention left out the fact that Joe Biden would raise taxes on more than 80 percent of Americans by at least $4 trillion. Also missing was his open borders policy, with amnesty and work permits for 11 million illegal aliens. There was no mention of Joe Biden’s desire to cut police funding, kill ten million energy jobs with a green new deal, or give free healthcare to illegal aliens, but in fairness, it was only the first night.”

While the Trump campaign is attacking the virtual production of the DNC by calling it a “Hollywood-produced infomercial” Gidley also said that the “radical socialist leftist takeover of Joe Biden is complete.”

11:09 p.m. Michelle Obama: ‘We’ve got to be willing to stand in line all night’

Former first lady Michelle Obama had a blunt message to Americans: “Donald Trump is the wrong president for our country.”

She spoke of understanding “the immense weight and awesome power” of the U.S. presidency.

“A president’s words have the power to move markets. They can start wars or broker peace. They can summon our better angels or awaken our worst instincts. You simply cannot fake your way through this job. As I’ve said before, being president doesn’t change who you are; it reveals who you are,” she said.

The former first lady also said the America we’re living in now — where people refuse to wear masks in grocery stores, where people of color have the cops called on them for no valid reason, where leaders are “emboldening torch-bearing white supremacists,” children are “thrown into cages” and peaceful protesters are met with pepper spray and rubber bullets — “is not who we want to be.”

Obama also emphasized the urgency she believes voters should feel with regard to the election, arguing that Trump is unlikely to reverse the direction of his presidency and that Democrats can’t take for granted that they will win or that voting will be easy. She also made reference to “candidates who have no chance of winning” and urged voters not to “play games.”

“If you take one thing from my words tonight, it is this: 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. If we have any hope of ending this chaos, we have got to vote for Joe Biden like our lives depend on it,” she said.

“This is not the time to withhold our votes in protest or play games with candidates who have no chance of winning. We have got to vote like we did in 2008 and 2012. We’ve got to show up with the same level of passion and hope for Joe Biden. We’ve got to vote early, in-person if we can. We’ve got to request our mail-in ballots right now, tonight, and send them back immediately, and follow up to make sure they’re received, and then make sure our friends and families do the same. We have got to grab our comfortable shoes, put on our masks, pack a brown bag dinner and maybe breakfast too because we’ve got to be willing to stand in line all night if we have to,” she added.

Obama closed with a charge to voters to take action and preserve progress for the next generation of Americans, quoting the late-Rep. John Lewis.

“And it is well past time for our leaders to once again reflect our truth. So it is up to us to add our voices and our votes to the chorus of history, echoing heroes like John Lewis, who said, ‘when you see something that is not right, you must say something. You must do something,"” she said.

“That is the truest form of empathy, not just feeling but doing. Not just for ourselves or our kids but for everyone, for all our kids. And if we want to keep the possibility of progress alive in our time, if we want to be able to look our children in the eye after this election, we have got to reassert our place in American history,” she continued. “And we have got to do everything we can to elect my friend, Joe Biden, as the next president of the United States.”

10:58 p.m. Michelle Obama recalls famous ‘when they go low, we go high’ speech

At the 2016 DNC, former first lady Michelle Obama said, “When they go low, we go high,” a line oft repeated beyond the election.

And in her keynote speech, she said, “Over the past four years, a lot of people have asked me, “When others are going so low, does going high still really work?” My answer: going high is the only thing that works, because when we go low, when we use those same tactics of degrading and dehumanizing others, we just become part of the ugly noise that’s drowning out everything else. We degrade ourselves. We degrade the very causes for which we fight.”

Michelle Obama: “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.” https://t.co/rZszrWoObu #DemConvention pic.twitter.com/nSxn25Yqq0

— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) August 18, 2020

“But let’s be clear: going high does not mean putting on a smile and saying nice things when confronted by viciousness and cruelty. Going high means taking the harder path. It means scraping and clawing our way to that mountain top. Going high means standing fierce against hatred while remembering that we are one nation under God, and if we want to survive, we’ve got to find a way to live together and work together across our differences,” she added.

10:50 p.m. Sanders calls for an ‘unprecedented response’ to fight for democracy

A day after predicting “overwhelming” support for the Biden-Harris ticket despite some progressives’ disagreements in an interview on ABC’s This Week, Sen. Bernie Sanders called for an unprecedented response from Americans to fight for democracy.

“This election is the most important in the modern history of this country,” Sanders said. “In response to the unprecedented crisis we face, we need an unprecedented response, a movement like never before of people who are prepared to stand up and fight for democracy and decency and against greed, oligarchy and bigotry. And we need Joe Biden as our next president.”

“Nero fiddled while Rome burned. Trump golfs.”

In #DemConvention speech, Sen. Bernie Sanders says “by rejecting science,” President Trump has “put our lives and health in jeopardy” and “fanned this pandemic.” https://t.co/rZszrWoObu pic.twitter.com/XPmpdm3VIo

— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) August 18, 2020

10:42 p.m. Republicans talk country over party

Democrats turned their convention over to a group of Republicans at the midpoint of the evening to make a case against the president of their own party.

Former New Jersey Gov. Christine Todd Whitman said her support for Biden was about “a person decent enough, stable enough, strong enough to get our economy back on track.”

Meg Whitman, the former Hewlett Packard CEO who mounted a 2010 bid for California governor as a Republican, hit Trump for having “no clue how to run a business, let alone an economy.”

And former New York Rep. Susan Molinari, who gave the keynote at the 1996 Republican National Convention, noted that she’s known Trump for most of her political career and described him as “disappointing, and lately so disturbing,” before introducing former Ohio Gov. John Kasich.

10:32 p.m. Klobuchar, other Dem rivals join in support of Biden

Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, who was one of Biden’s rivals in a crowded field aiming to challenge Trump in November, joined the convention virtually in support of the former vice president.

“Donald Trump may hate the post office, but he’s still going to have to send them a change of address card come January,” she said.

Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar: “Donald Trump may hate the post office, but he’s still going to have to send them a change of address card come January.” https://t.co/rZszrWoObu #DemConvention pic.twitter.com/FFui8TaYSy

— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) August 18, 2020

10:21 p.m. Kasich: ‘We’re being taken down the wrong road’

Former Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a Republican, spoke during the DNC and said, “We’re being taken down the wrong road by a president who has pitted one against the other.”

“I’m a lifelong Republican, but that attachment holds second place to my responsibility to my country,” he added.

Former Ohio Gov. John Kasich speaks at the #DemConvention: “We’re being taken down the wrong road by a president who has pitted one against the other.”

“I’m a lifelong Republican, but that attachment holds second place to my responsibility to my country.” https://t.co/rZszrWoObu pic.twitter.com/Lh6Lz9Knri

— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) August 18, 2020

10:19 p.m. Movement for Black Lives Matter, actors call for DNC platform amendments

In a new video, the Movement for Black Lives alongside actors Jane Fonda, Matt McGorry, Kendrick Sampson call for amendments to the DNC platform while reading rejected amendments that were tied to the Movement for Black Lives Electoral Justice Project’s BREATHE Act.

The activists said that “the Democratic Party’s 2020 platform rejected the call of Black leaders to enshrine Black priorities like defunding the police in their agenda.”

“There is still time to do the right thing, for the DNC platform to support Black people not just surviving, but THRIVING,” they added.

Do you believe that the #BREATHEAct – a modern civil rights bill – belongs on the official DNC Platform? Sign onto our open letter and ask that @TheDemocrats and @TomPerez join the biggest social movement in American history : https://t.co/tTAwSvDLEg pic.twitter.com/05KDZywz6j

— Movement 4 Black Lives (@Mvmnt4BlkLives) August 18, 2020

They called on the Democratic Party to “(invest) federal resources in care, not cages. Divesting from over policing and over-incarceration” and to defund the police.

The Movement for Black Lives challenged the DNC to change their platform noting that “the Democratic Party won’t stand up for Black and Brown lives, it’s on us to call them out and push them to do better.”

10:10 p.m. Whitmer compares Obama/Biden response to economic crisis to Trump response to coronavirus

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, one of the women Biden considered to be his running mate, compared President Barack Obama and Biden’s response to the economic crisis.

“Tonight I’m here at UAW Local 652 in Lansing, Michigan. Auto workers in this union and across our state could have lost their jobs if not for Barack Obama and Joe Biden. In 2009, the Obama/Biden administration inherited the worst economic crisis since the great depression. The auto industry on the brink of collapse. A million jobs at stake. But President Obama and Vice President Biden didn’t waste time blaming anyone else or shirking their responsibility. They got to work,” she said.

“From the jump, we took this pandemic seriously in Michigan. We listened to medical experts. We planned. And with a lot of work from the auto workers and too little help from the White House, we executed our plan. We saved thousands of lives. Just imagine if we had a national strategy,” she added.

10:08 p.m. Woman says her father paid for trusting Trump with his life

Kristen Urquiza, who lost her father, Mark Anthony Urquiza, to the coronavirus said her father had faith in President Donald Trump.

“He voted for him, listened to him, believed him and his mouthpieces when they said that coronavirus was under control and going to disappear; that it was okay to end social distancing rules before it was safe; and that if you had no underlying health conditions, you’d probably be fine,” she said.

She said that in late May, when the stay-at-home order was lifted in Arizona, her father went to a karaoke bar with his friends. He was on a ventilator a few weeks later and after five days, “he died alone in the ICU with a nurse holding his hand.”

“My dad was a healthy 65-year-old. His only preexisting condition was trusting Donald Trump, and for that, he paid with his life,” she said.

9:54 p.m. Cuomo calls Trump a second threat

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo referred to the president as a second threat compared to the coronavirus.

“And we now face a second threat. But this time not from mother nature. This is a man made threat by our own negligence. We now see the virus ricocheting across the country from one state to another. Today we trail the world in defeating COVID. We have over 5 million cases. Americans learned a critical lesson: how vulnerable we are when we are divided,” he said. “And how many lives can be lost when our government is incompetent.”

Gov. Andrew Cuomo: "COVID is the symptom, not the illness."

"A virus attacks when the body is weak and when it cannot defend itself. Over these past few years, America's body politic has been weakened…Only a strong body can fight off the virus." https://t.co/rZszrWoObu pic.twitter.com/kHpaKR9pkZ

— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) August 18, 2020

9:47 p.m. Clyburn gives ringing endorsement of Biden as racial healer

Majority Whip Jim Clyburn spoke to the DNC from a rooftop across the street from Emanuel AME Church, the site of the deadly mass shooting in June 2015 where a racially motivated gunman targeted African American churchgoers, killing nine.

“Much like the country as a whole, we are stepping out from the shadows of our past and beginning to lay the groundwork for a more just future. It won’t be easy. We can only succeed if we move forward together. So we will need a president who sees unifying people as a requirement of the job,” Clyburn said.

“Joe Biden is as good a man as he is a leader. I have said before and wish to reiterate tonight, we know Joe but more importantly, Joe knows us,” he continued.

9:43 p.m. Eric Garner’s mother: ‘We can’t let things settle down’

Gwen Carr, the mother of Eric Garner, said at the DNC: “I know when my son was murdered, there was a big uprising, but then it settled down. We can’t let things settle down.”

Gwen Carr, the mother of Eric Garner, at the #DemConvention: "I know when my son was murdered, there was a big uprising, but then it settled down. We can't let things settle down." https://t.co/nBZzx1SRxD pic.twitter.com/zKpf3qCLxT

— ABC News (@ABC) August 18, 2020

9:30 p.m. George Floyd’s family leads moment of silence

Before George Floyd’s family led a moment of silence, Philonise Floyd said the protests prompted by his brother’s death while in police custody were a fitting legacy.

“My brother George was selfless, he always made sacrifices for his family, friends and even complete strangers. George had a giving spirit, a spirit that has shown up on streets around our nation and around the world. People of all races, all ages, all genders, all backgrounds, peacefully protesting in the name of love and unity. It’s the fitting legacy for our brother,” Philonise Floyd said.

“For the names we do not know, the faces we will never see those who can’t mourn, because their murders didn’t go viral. Please join me in a moment of silence to honor George and the many other souls we lost to hate and injustice and when this moment ends, let’s make sure we never stop saying their names,” he continued.

9:28 p.m. Biden tweets he wishes he could be in Milwaukee

Just after Milwaukee’s congresswoman, Rep. Gwen Moore, spoke at the DNC, the former vice president tweeted that he wishes he could be in the city in person, but is still looking forward to the virtual gathering.

Thank you @Gwen4Congress and the people of Milwaukee for hosting this year's Democratic National Convention. I wish we could be there to celebrate in person, but I look forward to virtually coming together with folks across the country to make history. #DemConvention

— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) August 18, 2020

9:26 p.m. Moore: ‘We gather virtually,’ but ‘unified in spirit’

“It’s my honor to represent Milwaukee in Congress and to kick off the 2020 Democratic convention,” said Rep. Gwen Moore, D-Wis. “Oh, I sure wish you all were here in the city of Milwaukee … but today, we gather virtually. However, we gather, unified in spirit, unified in our values and purpose to heal divisions and, together, move the nation confidently into a prosperous, inclusive future.”

Nathaniel Rakich, FiveThirtyEight’s elections analyst, reports Moore has represented Wisconsin’s 4th District since 2005. It’s the bluest seat in Wisconsin, having been carried by Hillary Clinton by 52 points.

9:18 p.m. Choir performs National Anthem virtually

A choir performs the National Anthem virtually, with singers representing all 50 states, the District of Columbia, the Cheyenne Nation and five territories at the start of the 2020 DNC

A choir performs the National Anthem virtually, with singers representing all 50 states, the District of Columbia, the Cherokee Nation and five territories at the start of the 2020 #DemConvention. https://t.co/U4wuWUc53u pic.twitter.com/K3KX6mCeMy

— ABC News (@ABC) August 18, 2020

9:12 p.m. Clyburn will speak from Charleston rooftop across the street from Emanuel AME Church

Majority Whip Jim Clyburn will be speaking tonight from a rooftop across the street from Emanuel AME Church, the site of the deadly mass shooting in June 2015 where a racially motivated gunman targeted African American churchgoers, killing nine.

Previewing his speech, Clyburn said, “I’m going to talk about unity. My whole thing is about unity. I do believe strongly in the motto of this country, E pluribus unum, out of many, one. That’s what I’m going to be talking about. And one of the reasons I’m going to be talking from Charleston is because I will be directly across the street from Emanuel AME Church, and across the street in one other direction to the John C. Calhoun statue that just came down. And I’m going to talk about what the Emmanuel gave to that discourse and how the city of Charleston reacted by taking John C. Calhoun statue down. So I’m going to be talking about unity, where we are today, where we’ve come from and a little bit about where we need to go.”

“I think it’s going to be an effective convention,” Clyburn said, when asked how this very unusual convention will look. “I think that what you have to do is make lemonade when you’ve got lemons.”

9:07 p.m. The DNC is officially underway

The Democratic National Convention officially gets underway with the theme of unity and featuring speakers who represent the party’s progressive and traditional platforms.

The convention kicked off with an introduction by actress Eva Longoria Bastón, the night’s emcee, a reading of the U.S. Constitution’s Preamble by a collection of noteworthy folks, including Biden; health care activist Ady Barkan; Khizr Khan, the Gold Star Parent who spoke at the 2016 convention; soccer star Megan Rapinoe, among others, the Pledge of Allegiance, and a rendition of the National Anthem by a virtual chorus of young people.

Longoria then who “checked in” with Americans around the country to ask how they’re doing during the pandemic. Standard convention proceedings followed, with a gaveling-in, call to order.

8:56 p.m. The price tag on Democrats’ virtual convention: $40 million

Democrats won’t be gathering in Milwaukee this week for their nominating convention, but they’re still spending big to put on the event.

The cost of the all-virtual summit is still expected to hit roughly $40 million, Alex Lasry, the committee’s finance chair — and senior vice president of the Milwaukee Bucks — told ABC News.

“I think if this was the big thing that it was supposed to be, I think you’d be looking to raise around somewhere between $60-65 million,” he said, noting that the committee raised $45 million.

“You’ve got to still build out the thing in the convention center … and it costs money to put on a four-day virtual event. This is probably one of the more complicated conventions to put on because of all the different moving parts,” he said. “You had to prepare for a bunch of different scenarios.”

As for the security costs, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett told ABC News that he’s hoping the city will be reimbursed by the federal government/Justice Department for the $20 million-plus spent on security costs. Congress appropriated $50 million for security for each convention host city.

“It’s our hope and our expectation that we’ve documented our costs adequately, and we’ll get full compensation for that,” he said. “I think the real loss is the $200 million in outside spending that we had anticipated. I don’t anticipate the city’s going to suffer a loss.”

8:36 p.m.: Trump calls former Ohio Gov. Kasich a ‘loser’

In a conversation with reporters on Air Force One Monday, as he flew back to the Washington area from Wisconsin, the president had some choice words for former Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a Republican who is scheduled to speak at the Democratic National Convention Monday night.

“He was a loser as a Republican and he’ll be a loser as a Democrat,” Trump said, according to pool reports. “Major loser as a Republican. I guess you can quote me on that. John was a loser as a Republican. Never even came close. And as a Democrat he’ll be an even greater loser.”

Kasich, who still is with the Republican party, remained in the GOP nomination race in 2016 longer than any candidate other than Trump.

8:25 p.m. Democrats ‘will have our family fight once we get rid of Donald Trump’

Democracy for America CEO and ABC News Contributor Yvette Simpson says progressives “are going to have our voices heard, that (DNC) platform is not a progressive platform,” but adds that Democrats “will have our family fight once we get rid of Donald Trump.”

She added that “a lot of people” were unenthusiastic about Sen. Kamala Harris as Biden’s pick for running mate, but the president’s comments on the U.S. Postal Service may motivate them nonetheless.

“Donald Trump is actually helping motivate and rile up our folks more than Joe Biden is right now,” she said on ABC News Live.

8:16 p.m. Joe Biden and Kamala Harris’ Secret Service code names

A former law enforcement source confirms to ABC News that former Vice President Joe Biden retains his code name as “Celtic” and vice presidential nominee Sen. Kamala Harris assumes the code name “Pioneer.”

The source also told ABC News that these code names are not created by the Secret Service — they are created by the White House Communications Agency in consultation with the candidates.

8:07 p.m. AOC questions Kasich speech at DNC, fundraises off it

New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who is slated to speak for one minute on Tuesday, continued to question the decision to have former Ohio GOP Gov. John Kasich in the program, hours before he was scheduled to speak.

“Something tells me a Republican who fights against women’s rights doesn’t get to say who is or isn’t representative of the Dem party,” she said in a tweet.

Her campaign is also now fundraising off her criticism, repeating what she posted to Twitter.

“Building a coalition to save the soul of our nation does not mean we must forgo our values. Kasich’s role is not to critique the leaders of our party, because he has dedicated his career towards undermining our core mission,” the campaign email says.

The DNC had recruited prominent Republican figures and donors in an attempt to highlight the fissures across the party, a move DNC Chairman Tom Perez defended on Monday while addressing some of the criticism of Kasich’s speaking slot.

“I disagree with John Kasich on far more things than I agree on, but I have tremendous respect for him coming forward and saying: ‘You know what, there are some moments when it’s not about party, it’s about country — and we have a president who has obliterated the guardrails of democracy,"” Perez said in a virtual event with Pennsylvania Democrats.

7:59 p.m. DNC chair: Biden to be part of convention each night

Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez tells ABC News’ Linsey Davis on ABC News Live Prime that Joe Biden will be part of each night of the DNC “because he’s going to be engaged in conversation with real people about criminal justice reform, about the coronavirus epidemic, about the economy.”

7:52 p.m. FiveThirtyEight: Biden is favored to win the election

According to FiveThirtyEight’s forecast, Joe Biden starts convention week with a strong outlook. But remember, don’t count President Trump out yet: It’s only August and there’s plenty of time for the race to significantly tighten.

7:46 p.m. Trump declares the only way he will lose is if the election is ‘rigged’

Hours before Democrats kicked off their convention, President Trump held his third campaign rally of the day in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, ramping up attacks on his rival Joe Biden, and openly declared that the only way he will lose in November is if the election is rigged.

The president, who’s been laying the groundwork for weeks seemingly preemptively sowing distrust in the election results that are still less than 80 days away, went further than he has before, planting his flag that if he loses the election it must have been rigged — an admission seemingly that he won’t accept the results unless he wins.

Trump made the comment within the context of talking about mail-in ballots, as he faces increasing push back over efforts to restrict mail in voting and actions taken by the U.S. Postal Service.

“So we have to win the election. We can’t play games, get out and vote. Do those beautiful absentee ballots or just make sure your vote gets counted. Make sure because the only way we’re going to lose this election is if the election is rigged. Remember that. That’s the only way we’re going to lose this election,” he said.

“So we have to be very careful. We have — this is more than this election. That’s a big statement. The only way they’re going to win is that way and we can’t let that happen. And you know our post office, we’re gonna make our post office great. It’s been a disaster for many years. We’re gonna take care of the men and women in the post office and we’re gonna make it great great,” he added.

The president seemed to realize the significance of his statement as a sitting president, calling it “a big statement.”

7:39 p.m. Demings on first night’s theme

“I believe that tonight is just a demonstration of how broken our nation is under this president’s failed policies,” Rep. Val Demings, D-Fla., tells ABC News’ Linsey Davis on ABC News Live.

“I believe that tonight is just a demonstration of how broken our nation is under this president’s failed policies,” @RepValDemings tells @LinseyDavis on the first night of the Democratic National Convention. #DemConvention https://t.co/0UJrAu7xky pic.twitter.com/rR2VJhrCC5

— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) August 17, 2020

7:32 p.m. DNC faces backlash for lack of Latinx representation

The Democratic National Convention Committee continues to field backlash from some in the party’s progressive wing who have criticized the week’s thin representation from Latinx speakers and pointed out that several segments have been allotted to Republican speakers instead.

“I’d be lying to you if I said that I’m not disappointed that there aren’t more Latinos and Latinas generally speaking on that program,” former presidential contender Julian Castro, who gave the keynote address at the 2012 convention, said on MSNBC over the weekend.

Former 2020 presidential candidate @JulianCastro talks what to expect from the virtual Democratic National Convention this week and calls for @USPS Postmaster General to testify before Congress. #GMA3 #WYNTK https://t.co/or97D1wGl2 pic.twitter.com/lVZiRkusb2

— ABC News Live (@ABCNewsLive) August 17, 2020

Castro somewhat defended the DNC on ABC News Live Monday, acknowledging the limited primetime hours at this year’s gathering and adding, “I think the DNC heard in general the concerns of a lot of people because over the weekend there were many more voices that were added to the mix.”

Sawyer Hackett, a senior advisor to Castro, wrote in a blunt post to Twitter last week, “It’s completely unacceptable that there are as many Republicans speaking at the convention as Latinos,” before following up with another tweet that read, “Correction: more Republicans on day one than Latinos the whole week.”

7:18 p.m. Trump mocks Democrats for pre-taped speeches as campaign runs counter programming

In a string of campaign-style events in Minnesota and Wisconsin Monday, President Donald Trump criticized Democrats for having pre-taped speeches in their convention programming, dismissing the streaming challenges prompted by the pandemic while teasing his own speech next week “live from the White House.”

“They’re making speeches that are taped. Who wants to listen to Michelle Obama do a taped speech?” Trump said to boos outside an airport hangar in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. “No, you gotta have her get up there. But we’re doing a real speech on Thursday. Next Thursday, so you’ll be listening. We’re doing it live — live from the White House.”

“I wonder, is Joe Biden taping his speech too? Because if he is, I think I’ll tape mine,” Trump added in an apparent joke.

Over the weekend, the Trump reelection campaign announced they would have four nights of rebuttals to the Democratic National Convention this week. Called “The Real Joe Biden (LIVE),” the counter programming will take place at 11 p.m. ET from Monday to Thursday.

Trump is also scheduled to deliver a speech — just hours before Biden accepts the Democratic nomination — from right outside the former vice president’s hometown in Pennsylvania. The president will also hold counter programming events in three other swing states and will launch a massive multi-million dollar digital ad blitz that includes taking over the banner of YouTube for 96 hours starting on Tuesday.

7:13 p.m. Michelle Obama speech excerpts

The DNC released excerpts of remarks from some of Monday night’s speakers including a longer excerpt to ABC News from former first lady Michelle Obama’s pre-recorded remarks.

In that clip, she reflects on her knowledge of Biden, stressing that he has the knowledge and skills needed to lead the country through the current crises it faces.

“I know Joe. He is a profoundly decent man guided by faith. He was a terrific vice president. He knows what it takes to rescue an economy, beat back a pandemic and lead our country. And he listens. He will tell the truth, and trust science. He will make smart plans and manage a good team. And he will govern as someone who’s lived a life that the rest of us can recognize,” Obama says in the clip.

Obama then recounts the many struggles that Biden faces in his life, including the loss of his wife and daughter in 1972 and the loss of his son in 2015.

“When he was a kid, Joe’s father lost his job. When he was a young senator, Joe lost his wife and his baby daughter, and when he was vice president, he lost his beloved son. So Joe knows the anguish of sitting at a table with an empty chair, which is why he gives his time so freely to grieving parents. Joe knows what it’s like to struggle, which is why he gives his personal phone number to kids overcoming a stutter of their own. His life is a testament to gettin’ back up. And he is going to channel that same grit and passion to pick us all up to help us heal and guide us forward,” Obama says.

7:08 p.m. DNC’s breakdown of broader themes

Earlier Monday, the DNC released programming details breaking down tonight’s broader theme of “We the People” into segments titled “We the People Demanding Racial Justice”; “We the People Helping Each Other Through COVID-19”; “We the People Putting Country Over Party”; “We the People Recovering”; and “We the People Rise.”

“Tonight the nation will hear from the many Americans who are rising up to take on these three crises, and who will join Joe Biden in building back better and moving this country forward,” the DNC said in a release.

During the segment titled “We the People Helping Each Other Through COVID-19,” the DNC lists previously undisclosed remarks from Kristin Urquiza, a woman whose father lost his life to coronavirus earlier this year, an indication of the party’s plans to keep President Donald Trump’s handling of the pandemic at the forefront of the Biden-Harris campaign.

“Mark, like so many others, should not have died from COVID-19. His death is due to the carelessness of the politicians who continue to jeopardize the health of brown bodies through a clear lack of leadership, refusal to acknowledge the severity of this crisis, and inability and unwillingness to give clear and decisive direction on how to minimize risk,” Urquiza wrote in her father’s obituary.

Celebrities and artists including Eva Longoria, Leon Bridges, Billy Porter and Steven Stills will also make appearances throughout the evening.

7 p.m. Who is speaking at the DNC Monday

Former first lady Michelle Obama will be the keynote speaker of the night, after remaining mostly on the sidelines throughout the 2020 political season.

Sen. Bernie Sanders, the former rival of presumptive Democratic candidate Joe Biden, and former Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a Republican candidate for president in 2016, will also speak.

 

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