Biden accepts Democratic Party nomination, vows to end darkness

Bloomberg August 21 | Updated on August 21, 2020

Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden and U.S. Senator and Democratic candidate for Vice President Kamala Harris at the 4th and final night of the 2020 Democratic National Convention   -  REUTERS

Slams Trump’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak and record on economy

Joe Biden accepted the Democratic nomination to challenge US President Donald Trump, urging Americans in a prime-time address Thursday to vote for new national leadership that will overcome deep US political divisions.

The former Vice-President’s address capped the final night of the Democratic National Convention, made virtual because of the coronavirus outbreak. Biden spoke to a largely empty room at the Chase Center in Wilmington, Delaware, with supporters parked outside watching on screens as if at a drive-in movie theater.

Biden’s speech — the most important of his nearly half-century in politics — set the tone for a bruising general election battle against Trump. He said Trump had cloaked America in darkness for far too long.

“I will be an ally of the light, not the darkness,” he said.

Democrats have spent three nights mixing blunt criticism of Trump as an incompetent and corrupt threat to democracy with reassuring promises that Biden, 77, has the decency and experience to tackle the pandemic and other difficult problems. They’ve also sought to portray the party’s moderate and liberal wings as largely unified, burying progressive concerns that Biden is too much of an establishment centrist.

At a small rally earlier in the day near Biden’s hometown of Scranton, Pennsylvania, Trump told his supporters that Biden would be their worst nightmare.

‘An American President’

Biden promised that while he is running as a Democrat, he would be an American president. He criticized Trump for his handling of the coronavirus outbreak and the economic devastation that followed, saying the country’s condition would get worse if the President is re-elected.

“Cases and deaths will remain far too high,” he said. “More mom and pop businesses will close their doors, and this time for good.”

“Trump,” he said, “keeps telling us, the virus is going to disappear. I have news for him: no miracle is coming. Our economy is in tatters. And after all this time, the President still does not have a plan.”

Biden said he would implement his own coronavirus plan on day one of his presidency, moving to deploy rapid tests to contain the outbreak, build medical supplies in the country and ensure schools can safely open to students.

“Our current president has failed in his most basic duty to the nation,” Biden said. “He’s failed to protect us.”

Biden also more generally assailed Trumps behaviour while president, describing him as unfit for the office he holds.

“The president takes no responsibility, refuses to lead, blames others, cozies up to dictators, and fans the flames of hate and division,” Biden said.

Andrew Yang, the entrepreneur who challenged Biden for the Democratic nomination, opened the conventions fourth night by urging Americans who voted for Trump or didn’t vote at all in 2016 to consider the former Vice-President.

“We are in a deep dark hole, and we need leaders who will help us dig out,” he said. He said he sympathised with 2016 Trump voters or those who despair that our government will ever rise to the challenges of our time. “But,” he said, “We must give this country, our country, a chance to recover”.

Biden and his vice presidential nominee, Kamala Harris, are real people. They understand the problems we face. “If we give them the chance, they will fight for us and our families every single day.”

Speaker after speaker at the convention, including former President Barack Obama, also have encouraged Americans to vote early and have a plan to cast their ballot, in anticipation of potential mail delays and long, socially distanced lines at physical polling stations. Harris, a California senator, warned viewers on Wednesday that Republicans will seek to suppress the vote in the belief that high turnout would benefit Biden.

Published on August 21, 2020

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