U.S. President Donald Trump suffered scathing attacks from top Democrats on the first day of the party’s National Convention on Monday night.
Speakers at the virtual event also took turns to drum support for Mr Joe Biden, the presumed candidate of the party in the Nov. 3 presidential election.
Among those who spoke through video messages are former First Lady, Michelle Obama; Biden’s former rival in the primary, Sen. Bernie Sanders, and New York governor, Mr Andrew Cuomo.
Obama painted a gloomy picture of the state of the American nation with focus on the coronavirus pandemic and its devastating socio-economic impacts.
She also highlighted the division in the country caused largely by racial discrimination and alleged divisive rhetorics from the White House.
“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 lack of empathy.
“Let me be as honest and clear as I possibly can: Donald Trump is the wrong president for our country.
“He has had more than enough time to prove that he can do the job, but he is clearly in and over his head.
“He cannot meet this moment. He simply cannot be who we need him to be for us. It is what it is,” she said.
The former First Lady, who said she hates politics, emphasised that things could and would get worse if voters failed to make a change in the election.
She said if Americans had any hope of ending the chaos, they had to vote for Joe Biden “like our lives depend on it”.
“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 recognise,” she added.
Speaking live from Vermont, Sanders said the Nov. 3 presidential election was the most important in modern U.S. history.
The leftwing senator, who contested against Biden for the party’s nomination, endorsed the former Vice President
He warned that Trump was “leading us down the path to authoritarianism”, adding that all the progress the country had made would be reversed if the President was re-elected.
“At its most basic, this election is about preserving our democracy. During this president’s term, the unthinkable has become normal.
“He is trying to prevent people from voting, undermine the U.S. Postal Service, deploy the military and federal agents against peaceful protesters, threaten to delay the election and suggested that he would not leave office if he loses.
“This is not normal and we must never treat it like it is. This president is not just a threat to our democracy, but by rejecting science, he has put our lives and our health in jeopardy.
“Trump has attacked doctors and scientists trying to protect us from the pandemic, while refusing to take strong action to produce the masks, gowns and gloves our healthcare workers desperately need,” he fired.
Turning to Biden, he said Americans must rally round the candidate to build a more equitable, compassionate and inclusive nation.
“He will rebuild our crumbling infrastructure and fight the threat of climate change by transitioning us to 100 per cent clean electricity over the next 15 years.
“While Joe and I disagree on the best path to get universal coverage, he has a plan that will greatly expand healthcare and cut the costs of prescription drugs.
“Further, he will lower the eligibility age of medicare from 65 down to 60,” he said.
For his part, Gov Cuomo in a prerecorded video address, described the Trump administration as “dysfunctional and incompetent”.
The New York governor said COVID-19 was a symptom of the problems facing the country, not an illness.
“Our nation is in crisis, and in many ways, COVID-19 is just a metaphor. A virus attacks when the body is weak, and when it cannot defend itself.
“Over these past few years, America’s body politics has been weakened, the divisions have been growing deeper, the antisemitism, the anti-Latino, the anti-immigrant, the racism in Charlottesville where the KKK didn’t even bother to wear their hoods.
“And in Minnesota where the life was squeezed from Mr George Floyd. Only a strong body can fight off the virus, and America’s divisions weakened it,” he said.
Cuomo stated that Trump did not create the initial division, but rather the division created him, and he only made it worse.
Attacking Trump’s “poor response” to the pandemic, which he tagged the “European virus”, the governor said the virus infected the northeast of the country while the president was fixated on China.
“The virus had been attacking us for months before they even knew it was here. We saw the failure of a government that tried to deny the virus, that tried to ignore it and then tried to politicise it,” Cuomo added.
Trump reacted by retweeting some conservative criticisms of a number of the speakers, with focus on the New York governor.
“Cuomo, just like his brother Fredo, has not got a very good memory!” Trump tweeted, sharing video clips of the governor praising him for his help to the state.
The four-day virtual convention will cap on Thursday with Biden and his running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris, accepting the party’s nomination.