Democratic National Convention 2020: Day 2

By Melissa Macaya, Kyle Blaine and Jessica Estepa, CNN

Updated 6:20 p.m. ET, August 19, 2020
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9:22 p.m. ET, August 18, 2020

17 "rising stars" of the Democratic Party deliver keynote address

Democratic National Convention
Democratic National Convention

The Democratic Party looked to highlight some of its "rising stars from all across the country" during its keynote address that kicked off the second night of the Democratic National Convention.

This year’s address featured not one, but 17 of the Democratic Party’s rising politicians.

"There is one person that is looking out for us - all of us," they said in unison. "And that is Joe Biden."

Participants included: Georgia Democrat Stacey Abrams, State Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta from Pennsylvania, State Rep. Victoria Neave from Texas, Mayor Randall Woodfin from Alabama, and more.

According to organizers in a news release, the joint address meant to "offer a diversity of different ideas and perspectives on how to move America forward, but they will all speak to the future we’re building together — a future with Joe Biden at the helm."


9:00 p.m. ET, August 18, 2020

The second night of the DNC kicks off

From CNN's Maeve Reston and Stephen Collinson

The second night of the Democratic National Convention has begun, with programming running from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. ET. Jill Biden has long served as a supporting player to her husband's political career, but she will command the spotlight as the headliner tonight.

Her speech is expected to highlight the personal side of former Vice President Joe Biden as a loving father who pulled his family back together after the death of his first wife, Neilia, and 1-year-old daughter Naomi in a car accident in 1972.

She will also speak to the other great tragedy of Biden's life: the death of his son Beau Biden, the former Delaware attorney general, from brain cancer in 2015 when Biden was serving as vice president.

With the night's programming centered on the theme "uniting America," the keynote speech will take an unusual format featuring 17 rising stars in the Democratic Party. New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez will also speak and leaders will conduct the virtual roll call formally selecting Biden as the nominee of the Democratic Party.

Former President Bill Clinton will play an unusually peripheral role at a Democratic convention, a venue where he has been a star performer since the 1980s, including during his own campaigns; his speech in 2012 made the case for a second term for President Barack Obama in a way the incumbent never managed. He also spoke about his wife in 2016.

9:03 p.m. ET, August 18, 2020

Sen. Warren on Biden: “I’m with him all the way in this fight”

From CNN's Adrienne Vogt

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren said Democrats, and even some non-Democrats, are united behind Joe Biden as the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee. 

“I am focused on the next 77 days. That's where energy needs to be,” she said in an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper ahead of the second night of the Democratic National Convention.

During her presidential bid, Warren had criticized Biden for not being progressive enough.

Speaking to CNN tonight, Warren listed some elements of Biden’s platform, including expanding Social Security, canceling student-loan debt and creating more green jobs. 

“I’m with him all the way in this fight,” Warren said. 

8:22 p.m. ET, August 18, 2020

What to expect from Jill Biden's speech tonight

From CNN's Sarah Mucha and Arlette Saenz

Former second lady Jill Biden has long said the role of political spouse does not come naturally to her, but tonight, she’s slated to deliver the biggest speech of her political career as she speaks directly to her husband’s character and values.

She has worked on this speech for several weeks with her team, often times over Zoom calls, with a Democratic official saying she has been the driving force behind the messaging for tonight’s remarks.

Her central argument will be that her husband is uniquely poised to mend a broken nation after mending his own family following multiple personal tragic losses – repeating the question, “How do you make a broken family whole? The same way you make a nation whole.” 

The official says Jill Biden will make no direct mention of President Donald Trump in her speech, which is different from the approach taken by former first lady Michelle Obama last night.

Instead, Jill Biden aims to draw a subtle contrast with the President as she talks about her husband’s vision and character. 

8:20 p.m. ET, August 18, 2020

This year's roll call will look a little different due to Covid-19

From CNN’s Dan Merica

Democratic presidential candidate former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg participates in a Health Equity Roundtable at Nicholtown Missionary Baptist Church February 27 in Greenville, South Carolina.
Democratic presidential candidate former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg participates in a Health Equity Roundtable at Nicholtown Missionary Baptist Church February 27 in Greenville, South Carolina. Win McNamee/Getty Images

The revamped Democratic convention will alter yet another tradition on Tuesday when the roll call vote to formally nominate Joe Biden will be held with people from all 57 states and territories appearing over video.

Expected participants: The range of Democrats set to nominate Biden runs the gamut from elected officials, including a number of his 2020 opponents, to activists like a fisherman from Alaska, a farmer in Kansas and a bricklayer in Missouri.

Former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, one of Biden's 2020 challengers, will appear from Indiana, while other primary opponents like Rep. Tim Ryan in Ohio, Sen. Amy Klobuchar in Minnesota and Sen. Bernie Sanders in Vermont will appear.

The vote will also focus on key issues in the election. Marisol Garcia, a teacher from Arizona, will discuss returning to school during the coronavirus pandemic, while Howard Chou from Colorado will discuss issues facing working parents during the crisis. Fred Guttenberg of Florida, whose daughter was killed in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in 2018, will discuss gun violence. And activist Khizr Khan, whose speech about his son who died in combat during the last convention became a breakout moment in 2016, will appear from Virginia by highlighting the racial violence that killed one person in Charlottesville in 2017.

To honor the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th amendment, which gave women the right to vote, Keely Sage, a college student in Tennessee, will appear from the headquarters of the suffragists to discuss the role of women in electing Biden.

How it will work: Both Biden, the top vote getter, and Sanders, who finished in second, will be placed into nomination on Tuesday in what organizers hope will be a unifying moment for the party.

The roll call vote process is traditionally a long affair with each delegation in the convention arena going around and pledging delegates to candidates who ran in their primary or caucus. This process will be sped up — organizers expect it to take 30 minutes.

While the roll call vote will go in alphabetical order, organizers have planned to have Delaware — Biden's home state — pass when their turn comes up and return to the process to be the decisive state for the former vice president. Gov. John Carney and Sen. Tom Carper will appear for Delaware.

Once the roll call vote is finished, Biden will officially be the party's nominee, a designation he will accept on Thursday.

See the full list of participants in the roll call vote here.

8:16 p.m. ET, August 18, 2020

Security guard who went viral for Biden elevator moment to give speech at DNC nominating him for president

From CNN's Kate Sullivan and Dan Merica

A security guard went viral early this year after she said “I love you” to Joe Biden in an elevator. On Tuesday night, that same woman is expected to give the first speech officially nominating Biden for president at the Democratic National Convention, according to a Biden aide and a convention organizer.

Jacquelyn Brittany, an African American woman, was escorting the former vice president to a New York Times editorial board meeting in December when she turned to him and said, “I love you. I do. You’re like my favorite.”

The exchange was caught on tape and aired as part of the New York Times’ TV series “The Weekly.”

Biden did not win the endorsement of The New York Times editorial board, but he and his campaign touted this exchange as the real prize. 

“Honored to have won Jacquelyn's endorsement,” Biden tweeted alongside the video. 

The Washington Post was first to report on Jacquelyn’s involvement at the DNC. Brittany is her middle name, and she declined to the Post to have her last name printed.

11:56 p.m. ET, August 18, 2020

Castro criticizes DNC for lack of diversity, saying there should have been more Latino speakers

From CNN's Josiah Ryan

Former Housing and Urban Development secretary Julian Castro speaks during the Democratic Presidential Committee summer meeting on August 23, 2019 in San Francisco.
Former Housing and Urban Development secretary Julian Castro speaks during the Democratic Presidential Committee summer meeting on August 23, 2019 in San Francisco. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Former Democratic presidential candidate Julian Castro reproved the Democratic National Committee on Tuesday, saying he believed they ought to have scheduled a greater number of Latinos to speak in this week's committee meeting from the outset. 

"The DNC, I do think, should have put more folks on the platform in the beginning because representation does matter and it does send a strong message about inclusion for the party," Castro said, speaking with CNN's Wolf Blitzer. 

Castro said there were originally just three Latinos scheduled out of 35 primetime speakers, but that the DNC had added more over the weekend after facing criticism, including emcee actress and activist Eva Longoria and Kristin Uquiza, who lost her father to Covid-19. The convention's organizers also sparked criticism for giving Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez only one minute to speak during Tuesday's programming.

Castro said he believed it is important for the party to continue to build bridges into the Latino community, not only for this year's election but for the future.

"Even though we do win, really what we want to do is cement a strong relationship between one of the fastest growing communities in the United States and Democrats," he said. "...If we want to win up and down the ballot for years to come we have to make sure there aren't missteps like only 3 our of 35 speakers."

Castro, however, characterized both Joe Biden and Kamala Harris as "fantastic people" with a "strong track record" with the Latino and contrasted the DNC with the RNC saying it's like "night and day."

"Ours is the big tent party," he said. 


8:04 p.m. ET, August 18, 2020

Colin Powell: "I support Joe Biden for the presidency of the United States"

From CNN's Arlette Saenz

Democratic convention organizers released an excerpt of remarks from former Republican Secretary of State Colin Powell that will be delivered at tonight’s convention.

He praises Joe Biden’s values, saying, “We need to restore those values to the White House.”

"I support Joe Biden for the presidency of the United States," Powell says in an excerpt of his remarks.

Powell is the latest Republican to speak in favor of the presumptive Democratic nominee. He said in June that he'd vote for Biden in the 2020 presidential election, choosing again not to vote for Donald Trump for president.

Watch an excerpt of his remarks:

9:00 p.m. ET, August 18, 2020

Here's what to expect on the second night of the DNC

From CNN's Dan Merica, Gregory Krieg, and Kate Sullivan

In this Aug. 13, 2020, file photo, Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden speaks during a news conference at the Hotel DuPont in Wilmington, Delaware.
In this Aug. 13, 2020, file photo, Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden speaks during a news conference at the Hotel DuPont in Wilmington, Delaware. Carolyn Kaster/AP

Democrats will gather for the second night of their virtual convention on Tuesday to make the case that Joe Biden is the best person, in this time of national upheaval, to lead the way forward. Programming will take place 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. ET.

Former first lady Michelle Obama closed out the first night of the convention with a powerful and memorable speech that condemned President Trump's record and handling of the pandemic, and appealed to voters to turn out to vote for Joe Biden in November.

Tonight, former second lady Jill Biden will close out the night. She is expected to provide a personal testament to the character of the man she married in 1977. The speech will likely emphasize Biden's personal decency, as a father and family member.

Here's what you need to know about the second night of the DNC:

  • Tonight's speakers: The programming will seek to bridge another divide: The generations. The old-guard of the Democratic Party — in speeches by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York, former Secretary of State John Kerry and former President Bill Clinton — will share the spotlight with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, the young progressive star who, despite being given only a minute to speak, could provide the night's most closely watched moment.
  • Democrats' next generation: There will be no traditional keynote at this Democratic National Convention — instead, the party will look to highlight some of its youngest, most promising members on the same night that its old guard takes the stage.
  • About the keynote speeches: The keynote will be delivered by 17 of the party's rising stars, a group that ranges from top Georgia Democrat Stacey Abrams — already a veritable star inside the party — to local leaders like Pennsylvania State Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, South Carolina State Sen. Marlon Kimpson and Nevada state Sen. Yvanna Cancela.
  • A revamped roll call vote: Democrats will also hold their roll call vote on Tuesday, with party members appearing on video from each of the 57 states and territories to officially announce the delegates Biden and other Democrats received from their primary or caucus.

Read more about tonight's events here.