The four-day Democratic National Convention that is expected to nominate Hillary Clinton as its presidential candidate kicks off Monday night in full force amid controversy over leaked emails that showed some Democratic Party officials may have tried to tilt the primaries against Bernie Sanders.
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders
“Thank you all very much,” Sanders tell them as the applause goes on for several minutes. “It is an honor to be here tonight.”
As many delegates chanted his name and waved placards with his name, Sanders tried to calm the crowd for several minutes and said, “It is an honor to be here tonight and to be following in the footsteps of my good friend Elizabeth Warren.” He also thanked Michelle Obama for her “incredible service” to the country. “She has made all of us proud.”
He thanks those who “actively participated in our campaign” and those who funded his campaign with 8 million individual campaign contributions. The average contribution was $27.
He thanks those who voted for “the political revolution . . . giving us the 1,846 pledged delegates here tonight. . . . I look forward to your votes during the roll call tomorrow tonight.”
He thanked his own state of Vermont and those “who have sustained me” throughout his campaign. He thanked his campaign volunteers.
“I understand many people are disappointed about the final results of the nomination process. I think it is fair to say no one is more disappointed than I am,” he said. “But I hope you take enormous pride in the historical accomplishments we have achieved. We have begun a political revolution to transform America, and that revolution, our revolution, continues.”
They want to create a government that represents all of us and “not just the 1 percent.”
“Let me be as clear as I can be,” he said. “This election is not about Clinton or Trump or Sanders . . . It is not about all the things that the media spent so much time discussing.
“This election is about . . . the needs of the American people and the kind of future we create for our children and our grandchildren.” It is about ending the 40-year decline of our middle class and the 47 million people who live in poverty. We must end a “grotesque level” of income inequality. “It is not moral, it not acceptable, and it is not sustainable” that the top one-tenth of 1 percent of the population owns as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent.
During the recession Obama inherited, 800,000 people a month were losing their jobs. The world financial structure was on verge of collapse. He thanked Obama and Biden for pulling us out of the terrible recession. Still, “much, much more needs to be done.”
The election is about who offers real solutions, not just “bombast” and “fear mongering” and “name calling” and “divisiveness.” Clinton “must become the next president of the United States.” Trump will not raise minimum wage to a “living wage” and he supports “huge” tax breaks for millionaires and even wants to lower the minimum wage.
We must overturn Citizens United, Sanders said. He called it “one of the worst Supreme Court decisions in the history of our country.” Clinton will appoint justices to the Supreme Court who will overturn that decision and end the movement “toward oligarchy” that we are seeing in this country.
Trump does not believe in climate change, but Clinton does, he said. We also need universal health care and need to reduce the number of people who are uninsured. Clinton supports this. “The greed of the drug companies must end.” Comprehensive immigration reform must take place and the criminal justice system must be overhauled, he said.
“This election is about which candidate faces the real problems facing this country and has offered real solutions, not just bombast, not just fearmongering, not just name-calling and divisiveness. We need leadership in this country that will improve the lives” of people in this country, “leadership that brings people together . . . not leadership . . . that seeks to divide us up.
“Based on her ideas and leadership, Hillary Clinton must become the next president of the United States.”
“Hillary Clinton understands if someone in this country works 40 hours a week, that person should not be living in poverty,” Sanders said.
He said he and Clinton worked on a proposal to “revolutionize higher education in America.” He said 83 percent of the population will be able to go to college tuition-free and it will reduce student debt.
Trump, “like most Republicans, chooses to reject science . . . Hillary Clinton understands that a president’s job is to” worry about the future, “not the profits of the fossil-fuel industry.”
She understands the importance of investing in education, “not more jail cells.”
“While Donald Trump is busy insulting one group after another, Hillary Clinton understands that our diversity is one of our greatest strengths.”
“It is no secret Hillary Clinton and I disagree on a number of issues. . . . That is what democracy is about.” But there was a “significant coming together” of the two sides in drafting the party platform. It includes breaking up big banks and opposition to some trade pacts and is the “most progressive” in history.
He said he had known Clinton for 25 years, and said she is a “fierce advocate” who will “make an outstanding president, and I am proud to stand with her tonight.”
Rep. Keith Ellison of Minnesota
Ellison said the party has the most progressive platform in history. It is a platform Clinton and Sanders wrote together.
Trump wants to “divide and conquer us” with an anti-Mexican, anti-Muslim, anti-workers message. “When they bring their fear, we bring the courage.” He said he is a “proud” Bernie Sanders supporter. “Bernie sparked the beginning of a revolution.”
“We made our voices heard. We will make our voices heard when we defeat Donald Trump in November” and make Clinton the next president.
Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren
Warren said “Bernie reminds us what Democrats fight for every day. Thank you, Bernie.”
Trump inherited a fortune from his father and kept it going by cheating people, Warren said. “He’s a man who cares only about himself.” Clinton is one of the smartest, most tenacious people on the planet.
“I’m with Hillary,” she said. “America is truly a country of opportunity.” But she said she is worried that opportunity is slipping away for many people. Young people are crushed by student loans and seniors can barely afford the essentials.
“This is not right.” Yet the stock market is breaking records and CEOs are making millions. “People get it. The system is rigged. It’s true.”
“Washington works great, for those at the top.” But for working people, it doesn’t, though “Democrats have taken on those fights” like health insurance reform and fighting big banks from cheating people.
“Republicans and lobbyists battled us every step of the way.”
Trump never “lifted a finger” to help working people. “His whole life has been about taking advantage of that rigged system.” He has conned, defrauded and ripped people off. He set up a “fake university” to cheat people and “take their life savings.” He filed for business bankruptcy six times to protect his own money.
“What kind of a man” cheats people like that, Warren said.
“A man who must never be president of the United States.”
His vice presidential nominee discriminated against gays, Warren said. “We are not going to be Donald Trump’s hate-filled America.”
“So to every Republican who said no” to Democratic initiatives on behalf of the middle class: “This November, the American people are coming for you.”
“Where was Donald Trump in all those fights?”
“Donald Trump knows the American people are angry . . . he can see it from the top of the Trump Tower. So now he is insisting that he and he alone can fix the rigged system. . . . Other than talking about building a stupid wall that will never get built . . . did you hear any actual ideas?
“Did you hear even one solid proposal? . . . For creating even one good single-paying job? Let’s face it, Donald Trump has no real plans . . . to make anything great for anyone except rich guys like Donald Trump.”
He thinks he can win votes “by fanning the flames” of fear and hatred. “That’s Donald Trump’s America . . . ‘divide and conquer’ is an old story in America.”
“When we turn on each other, Donald Trump can push through more tax breaks” to make him and others like him richer.
Clinton will fight for debt-free college, expand Social Security and strengthen Medicare — “and we’re with her.” Clinton supports equal pay for equal work and a woman’s right to control her own body. “We believe we must get big money out of politics.” Clinton will fight to overturn Citizens United and return the government to the people.
Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy of Massachusetts introduces Elizabeth Warren.
Kennedy said Elizabeth Warren was the toughest professor at his law school but there was a waiting list “a mile long” to get into her class. She is an anchor for the “voiceless and the victimized.”
First Lady Michelle Obama
She talked about bringing up her two daughters while in the White House.
Her girls were 7 and 10 years old when they first went off to school from the White House in SUVs and with men carrying guns. The couple had to show their daughters how to ignore people who questioned Barack’s citizenship and faith.
“Our motto is when they go low, we go high . . . we know our words and actions matter not just to our girls, but to kids across this country,” she said.
“This November, when we go to the polls . . . in this election, it’s about who will have the power to shape our children for the next four or eight years of their lives. . . . In this election, there is only one person I trust with that responsibility . . . that is our friend Hillary Clinton.”
“When she didn’t win the nomination eight years ago, she didn’t get angry or disillusioned. Hillary did not pack up and go home, because as a true public servant she knows this is so much bigger than her own desires and disappointments. She proudly stepped up to serve this country once again.”
“She never buckles under pressure . . . Hillary Clinton has never quit on anything in her life.”
You need to be steady and measured and well-informed when you have the nuclear codes at your fingertips, she said.
“In this election, I’m with her,” she said.
“I wake up every morning in a house that was built by slaves and I watch my daughters, two beautiful intelligent black women playing with their dog on the White House lawn, and because of Hillary Clinton, my daughters and all our sons and daughters now take for granted that a woman can be president of the United States.”
“This, right now, is the greatest country on earth. . . . In this election, we cannot sit back and hope everything works out for the best.”
Lankford said she lost her husband and had to raise a child, and was the victim of a “scam” by Trump University. “The whole thing was a lie” and she was conned out of the money she received form the military after his death. She and others were victims of “Donald Trump’s greed. . . . He made millions of dollars off of people like me.”
Trump was born rich. “I thought I could learn something from him.” But he “cheated working people who had nothing to spare. What kind of man does that?”
“America deserves to know the truth” about Trump, Lankford said.
New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker
Booker said our nation wasn’t founded because we all looked alike or prayed alike. The founding fathers put forth the idea that all are created equal.
“Patriotism is love of country, but you can’t love your country without loving your countrymen and countrywomen. . . . We must build bridges across our differences,” he said. We cannot only just tolerate others. “We are called to be a nation of love,” he said. “Tolerance says I’m just going to stomach your right to be different.”
Donald Trump is not the right leader for the country. He tries to get laughs at other people’s expense, he said. We watched him cruelly mock a journalist with a disability. He uses a “broad, divisive brush.” Booker called it a “twisted hypocrisy” the way Trump treats women.
He said Trump showed his business practices in Atlantic City. “He got rich while his companies declared multiple bankruptcies,” Booker said. “She has fought for the people and she has delivered,” he said, referring to Clinton. The criminal justice system desperately needs reform. “America, we will rise!” he repeated. “We will not surrender the moral high ground. . . . Love always trumps hate.”
Hillary Clinton “has been paying it forward her entire life.”
“She has fought for the people and she has delivered.”
She understands America must be measured by “how few people we have living in poverty.”
“Hillary Clinton knows that security doesn’t come from . . . stoking our fears,” Booker said. “Hillary Clinton knows it is not one American against another American, it is you and I together.”
“Cynicism is a refuge for cowards and this country will always be the home of the brave.”
Longoria said “I’m proud to say I’m with her,” referring to Clinton. She said she is from a small town in the south of Texas, a state that used to be part of Mexico. She is a ninth-generation American of Mexican descent. “My family never crossed a border, the border crossed us,” she said. “My father is not a criminal or a rapist. In fact, he is a United States veteran,” she said.
Clinton “is the most qualified presidential candidate ever. She’s been fighting for us for decades and now it’s time for us to fight for her.”
“Guess what Donald, it turns out America is pretty great already,” she said, referring to the diversity of speakers at the convention.
Singer/songwriter Paul Simon performs.
Simon takes the stage, singing “Bridge Over Troubled Water.”
Sarah Silverman, comedian, actress and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders supporter, speaks.
Silverman said she’s been “feeling the Bern” this past year. “Relax — I put some cream on it,” she joked. “As some of you may know, I support Bernie Sanders and the movement behind him,” she said.
She said the Democratic primary was “exemplary” without name-calling.
“Hillary heard the passion of the people, the people behind Bernie, and brought them into the Democratic platform, and that is democracy at its best . . . I will proudly vote for her.”
“I will vote for Hillary with gusto, as I continue to be inspired and moved to action . . . by Bernie . . . a vital part of that movement is making sure that Hillary Clinton is the next president of the United States,” she said.
“To the Bernie or bust people, you’re being ridiculous,” she said, to cheers and later chants of “Ber-nie!”
Somoza said she met Clinton during a visit to the White House when she was 9 years old. Clinton advocated her inclusion in classrooms and in the workforce.
“She has never lost touch with people like me,” she said. “She sees me as a strong woman” and the child of immigrants, she said. She said she fears the day we elect a person who bullies others to be president. “Donald Trump has shown us who he really is,” she said. Donald Trump doesn’t see me or hear me “and he definitely doesn’t speak for me,” she said. She thanked Clinton for showing her how to live “boldly.”
Minnesota Sen. Al Franken
Franken said Trump is “a right-wing megalomaniac” and joked that he himself got his degree in megalomaniac studies from Trump’s university. It is ranked second in the nation behind Bernie Madoff University, he joked.
Bankruptcy 101 teaches you how to leave your partners holding the bag, he said.
Clearly Trump’s huge success qualifies him to be president. Trump has never done anything for anyone other than himself, he said.
“Maybe we should go with a candidate who spent her entire life working to do important things for the American family. . . . I’ve never met anyone smarter, tougher or more ready to lead us forward. I am proud to call Hillary Clinton my friend and I can’t wait to call her Madame President.”
“This week it’s all about passion. But starting Friday, it’s all about work, hard work,” he said. “Get on the phones, knock on those doors and tell them Al Franken sent you.”
New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand
Gillibrand said she drops off her kids at school. Like most working parents, she and her husband juggle a lot. Working-class parents deal with even more, and Washington has not caught up to their reality.
Eight in 10 moms work outside the home. “Our policies are stuck in the ‘Mad Men’ era,” she said.
There is no guaranteed paid family leave. Some women can’t even get a day off to give birth, she said.
Clinton understands all this, as a working mom and grandmother, Gillibrand said. Clinton could have gone to a fancy law firm but worked for children’s rights instead after law school. As secretary of state, she helped women and their children escape violence and poverty. She will bring workplace policies “out of the dark ages,” she said. Clinton supports guaranteed paid family leave and equal pay for equal work.
Luke Feeney, mayor of Chillicothe, Ohio
Feeney said Trump has crushed small businesses. “The last thing Ohio needs is Donald Trump,” he said. Clinton knows how to grow the economy and small businesses, he said.
Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey
Casey said Clinton will work every day to build an economy that will work for everyone, not just those at the top. He said Trump’s products are made overseas and not in America. Trump hasn’t made anything except “a buck” on the backs of working people, he said.
“The man who wants to make America great doesn’t make anything in America,” he said. “Hillary believes we need an economy that works for everyone.” Trump would cut taxes for the richest Americans at the expense of the middle class, he said.
Nevada State Sen. Pat Spearman
Spearman said she is a veteran, a minister, an African-American and a proud member of the LGBT community. Trump is against marriage equality despite his assertions to the contrary, she said. “His worst attack on us was his vice presidential pick,” she said, referring to Indiana Gov. Mike Pence.
Jesse Lipson, founder of ShareFile
“Where is this losing country he keeps talking about?” Lipson, a small-business owner, said, referring to Trump. He said he taught himself to build software in his free time and now has a sizable company. He said hate scares away investment, and Trump does not understand that. Trump only offers problems; Clinton offers real solutions, he said.
Jason and Jarron Collins, twin brothers and former professional basketball players
Jarron Collins said “how do you tell your kids not to be a bully if their president is one?” Jason Collins, an openly gay NBA player, said he wanted to play in the NBA and live his life openly. He told the Clintons about his homosexuality before he came out publicly. He said they will help pave the path for others. They knew his sexual preferences made no difference in his ability to play basketball, he said, just as it would make no difference in someone’s ability to lead the nation.
Rep. Luis Gutierrez
Gutierrez said his parents grew up in rural Puerto Rico, without even an overcoat when they came here. He was born in Chicago. They moved here in the 1950s and were met with “scorn,” like many other Puerto Rican immigrants.
But no one spoke up for them against the discrimination. He called Trump a “bigot” and a “bully” for his anti-immigrant remarks. Clinton will keep America “a welcoming nation.”
Every generation of newcomer faces discrimination here, he said. Immigrants “make America a great nation” and many died defending our democracy. A “fair immigration system is better for all of America,” he said. He called it a “sick, hateful fantasy” that 11 million undocumented immigrants could be rounded up and deported. America will be “greater” and better and stronger with Clinton as president, he said.
Astrid Silva, grass roots organizer for immigrants
Silva said Obama’s immigration action protected her, but like others, fears her parents will be deported. Trump would “tear families apart” by deporting them. She said she has seen Clinton comfort children like Karla.
Karla Ortiz, 11, and her mother Francisca Ortiz speak, both in Spanish and English. They are undocumented immigrants.
Karla Ortiz said she is the daughter of immigrant parents. She said Clinton told her was she was “valiente” or brave. “Soy Americana,” she said, “I am American.”
She was born in Las Vegas, she said. Her parents came here looking for the American dream, but she is scared that at any moment, her parents will be forced to leave. She wants her parents to see her do science experiments, and she wants to grow up to be a lawyer to help other families like hers, she said.
Clinton told her not to do the worrying, that Clinton will do the worrying — and that she should live the life of a typical 11-year-old and not have the weight of the world on her shoulders.
Francisca Ortiz, her mother, said in Spanish that the immigration system must be better. “We know Hillary will fight for all our families,” Karla said in Spanish. Then she shouted in English, “Hillary Clinton for president!”
Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley
Merkley said he was the first in his family to go to college and lives in the same blue-collar community he grew up in.
He said Trump got rich by taking advantage of people, sending jobs overseas, cheating small business contractors and scamming people with his “fraudulent” university.
“We owe an enormous debt to Bernie Sanders, speaking of solutions,” he said. Sanders stood up to the powers that be, and his movement will continue long after November, he said. Sanders and Clinton have forged the most progressive platform in the party’s history, he said.
He said we need to oppose “bad trade deals.” We need a government for the people, and not just for the powerful and wealthy, he said. “We must be united in this battle,” whether you were a Sanders or Clinton supporter in the primaries, he said.
Demi Lovato, singer-songwriter
Lovato said that like millions of Americans, “I am living with mental illness.” She said we need better access to health care. “This is not about politics,” it is simply about doing the right thing, she said. She said Clinton will do the best job of addressing the issue.
Sen. Jeanne Shaheen
Shaheen of New Hampshire praised Livengood and said “we will win this fight together” with the help of Clinton. She said the opioid crisis is happening across the country. “Entire communities are being devastated,” she said. Clinton “came to New Hampshire not to talk but to listen,” she said. Donald Trump has no plan to deal with the epidemic, she said, and seems to have no idea what is happening outside Trump Tower, she said.
Pam Livengood, of Keene, N.H., guardian for her grandson due to daughter’s struggle with addiction
She said her grandson was going to be taken away by child protective services and put in foster care.
“There was no way we were going to let our grandson live in foster case,” Livengood said. “Today my daughter is in treatment. But she has a long road ahead of her.”
“Sometimes it feels like folks in Washington don’t hear these stories,” she said.
She said her situation was not “unique” in the United States. She praised Clinton for coming to a roundtable discussion at her job. She also said Clinton came up with a plan to attach drug abuse.
“Hillary listened. She even took notes,” she said of her meeting with Hillary Clinton. “We need a leader who listens to the voices of ordinary Americans.”
“For me, that leader is Hillary Clinton.”