Democratic National Convention 2020: Day 3

By Melissa Macaya, Kyle Blaine, Jessica Estepa, Fernando Alfonso III and Veronica Rocha, CNN

Updated 1:20 AM ET, Thu August 20, 2020
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10:36 p.m. ET, August 19, 2020

Obama lays into Trump: The President "hasn’t grown into the job because he can't"

From CNN's Dan Merica

Former President Barack Obama.
Former President Barack Obama. Democratic Nation

Former President Barack Obama laid into his successor in the starkest terms yet on Wednesday night, excoriating President Donald Trump as incapable of handling the responsibilities of the presidency and uninterested in “taking the job seriously.”

Speaking before Sen. Kamala Harris at Wednesday night’s Democratic National Convention, Obama said that while he never expected Trump to “embrace my vision or continue my policies,” he also never believed he would treat the presidency as “anything but one more reality show that he can use to get the attention he craves.”

A former president issuing a harsh critique of the current president, in another era, would be a more unique occurrence. But Trump has entirely changed the calculus by not only attacking his Democratic predecessors, but also the presidents from his own party.

“I did hope, for the sake of our country, that Donald Trump might show some interest in taking the job seriously; that he might come to feel the weight of the office and discover some reverence for the democracy that had been placed in his care,” Obama said. “But he never did."

Obama then listed the things Trump was unwilling to do, including put in the work to be president, find common ground with others or help anyone other than himself and his own friends.

“Donald Trump hasn’t grown into the job because he can’t. And the consequences of that failure are severe,” Obama said. “170,000 Americans dead. Millions of jobs gone. Our worst impulses unleashed, our proud reputation around the world badly diminished, and our democratic institutions threatened like never before.”


10:44 p.m. ET, August 19, 2020

Warren: Child care is "infrastructure for families"

From CNN's Gregory Krieg

Sen. Elizabeth Warren speaks during the third night of the Democratic National Convention on Wednesday, Aug. 19.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren speaks during the third night of the Democratic National Convention on Wednesday, Aug. 19. Democratic National Committee via AP

Speaking from a Massachusetts pre-K and kindergarten facility shuttered by the coronavirus, Sen. Elizabeth Warren on Wednesday night made the case that Joe Biden has the right kind of “plans” to rebuild the American economy.

Warren focused her remarks on child care, an issue that has grown in prominence as more parents than ever before – with schools and day cares closed – struggle to juggle work and caring for their children.  

“We build infrastructure like roads and bridges and communication systems so people can work. That infrastructure helps us all because it keeps our economy going,” Warren said. “It is time to recognize that child care is part of the basic infrastructure of this nation. Its infrastructure for families.”

Warren used a moment from her own life’s story, one familiar to those who followed her campaign, to drive home the point.

“As a little girl growing up in Oklahoma, what I wanted most in the world was to be a teacher. I loved teaching. And when I had babies and was juggling my first big teaching job in Texas it was hard, but I could do hard,” Warren said. “The thing that almost sank me? Child care.”

The future Massachusetts senator then called her aunt, who dropped everything to join her, helping Warren for 16 years. But that, Warren noted, was her own good luck – and not the fate of so many other working parents.

“Because of my Aunt Bea, I learned a fundamental  truth: Nobody makes it on their own,” Warren said. “And yet, here we are, two generations of working parents later, and if you have a baby and don't have a Aunt Bea, you are on your own.”


10:47 p.m. ET, August 19, 2020

Democrats highlight plight of small businesses as coronavirus hammers the economy

From CNN's Josiah Ryan

Democrats played a video at the virtual convention this evening, featuring stories of a small business owner, a restauranteur, a farmer and a manufacturer who are all struggling to stay afloat as Covid-19 continues to roil the American economy.

The short video, narrated by Ohio's Sen. Sherrod Brown, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and Rep. Cindy Axne of Iowa, takes aim at President Trump's handling of the pandemic as well as his trade war with China. 

The video ended on an upbeat note, however, with each of the beleaguered entrepreneurs expressing hope that a Joe Biden administration would bring about relief. 

"I believe that Joe Biden will be a clear voice for us," said an Ohio small business owner.

"Joe Biden has an understanding of what the average American is experiencing," said the LA restaurant owner.

"I have a lot of confidence in Joe Biden," said the Iowa farmer. "He's a fighter and the real deal."

11:22 p.m. ET, August 19, 2020

Elizabeth Warren pays subtle tribute to the Black Lives Matter movement

Sen. Elizabeth Warren speaks during the third night of the Democratic National Convention on Wednesday, Aug. 19.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren speaks during the third night of the Democratic National Convention on Wednesday, Aug. 19. Democratic National Committee

During her speech tonight during the Democratic National Convention, Sen. Elizabeth Warren paid tribute to the Black Lives Matter movement in a subtle and poignant way.

As the senator from Massachusetts discussed the importance of affordable health care, the letters "BLM" could be seen on a shelf over her left shoulder.

"We all need to be in the fight to get Joe and Kamala elected. And after November, we all need to stay in the fight to get big things done," Warren said tonight. "We stay in the fight so that when our children and our grandchildren ask what we did during this dark chapter in our nation's history. We will be able to look them squarely in the eye and say, we organized, we persisted, we changed America."

More on Warren and race in America: In June, Warren had introduced an amendment calling on the Department of Defense to rename military bases named after Confederate soldiers.

It specifically called for the removal of names of Confederate leaders from all military assets —whether it's a base, installation, facility, aircraft, ship, plane or type of equipment — within three years.

The plan was adopted behind closed doors by voice vote with the support of some Republicans, even as President Trump condemned any action to remove Confederate leaders' names from military bases — and the White House vowed to veto any such legislative effort.

10:28 p.m. ET, August 19, 2020

Solis: Biden and Harris have an economic plan "not only to recover what we lost but to improve upon it"

Former Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis.
Former Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis. Democratic National Committee

Former Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis touted Joe Biden's economic policies when they worked together during the Obama administration and said the former vice president is the fighter that American workers need in the country now.

"My parents realized they had achieved their American dream because the daughter of two blue collar immigrants would make history and give voice to people just like them. American workers need a fighter now more than ever. And Joe Biden is that person, because he has done it before and I have seen it firsthand," Solis said.

Solis said that because of President Trump's "failures," the country "must once again rescue a sinking economy."

Solis, who was sworn in by Biden, stated she's personally seen Biden work for Americans when he and President Obama, "extended overtime pay to more than four million workers" and "saved the automobile industry." As for Kamala Harris, Solis touted that Harris "took on big banks and won" when people in California "lost their homes."

She laid out the Biden and Harris' economic plan, saying that it would not only help the country "not only to recover what we lost but to improve upon it."

"That is why Joe Biden and Kamala Harris actually have a plan. Not only to recover what we lost but to improve upon it. To build back better. Creating 5 million good union jobs by bringing back supply chains to America. That is building back better. Creating millions of jobs by investing in clean energy. That is building back better. And making sure that working families can afford childcare. That is how we build back better," Solis said.


10:14 p.m. ET, August 19, 2020

Pelosi: McConnell and Trump are partners in blocking popular policies

From CNN's Gregory Krieg

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Democratic National Committee

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi used her speech on Wednesday to tie Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who is up for reelection in Kentucky, to President Donald Trump – and cast them as twin bulwarks against popular legislation, like lowering prescription drug prices.

“We have sent the Senate bills to protect our dreamers, LGBTQ equality, to prevent gun violence, and to preserve our planet for future generations, and even more,” Pelosi said. “All of this is possible for America. Who is standing in the way? Mitch McConnell and Donald Trump.”

Pelosi also made an argument, and distinction, that has largely gone unspoken during the convention’s first two nights: that Trump’s rhetoric and personal behavior are inextricable from the Republican political agenda.  

“As Speaker, I’ve seen firsthand Donald Trump’s disrespect for facts, for working families, and for women in particular — disrespect written into his policies toward our health and our rights, not just his conduct,” she said.

A historical figure in her own right, Pelosi touted the increasingly diverse makeup of the House Democratic majority and the record number of women in this Congress' ranks.

“This month, as America marks the centennial of women finally winning the right to vote, we do so with 105 women in the House,” she said. “Proudly, 90 are Democrats.”


10:11 p.m. ET, August 19, 2020

Clinton offers cautionary tale against "woulda coulda shoulda" election

From CNN's Dan Merica

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Democratic National Committee

Hillary Clinton, the only other Democrat to run against Donald Trump, urged voters not to take the President’s political standing for granted this year, warning that November cannot be a “woulda coulda shoulda” election.

Clinton’s speech was both a reflection on her bid four years ago, where she unexpectedly lost, in part, because some Democrats sat out the race, and an indictment on Trump, a man she described as ill-equipped to be President.

“Don’t forget: Joe and Kamala can win 3 million more votes and still lose. Take it from me,” Clinton said. “We need numbers so overwhelming Trump can’t sneak or steal his way to victory.”

Clinton added:

“For four years, people have said to me, “I didn’t realize how dangerous he was.” “I wish I could go back and do it over.” Or worst, “I should have voted.” Look, this can’t be another woulda coulda shoulda election.”

When Clinton conceded the 2016 election, she said Democrats owed Trump the chance to prove he could grow into the presidency.

On Wednesday, however, Clinton reiterated what she has said repeatedly over the last four years: That hasn’t happened.

“I wish Donald Trump had been a better president,” Clinton said. “Because America needs a better president than this."

Clinton also said that Kamala Harris would face he same “slings and arrows" she did as a woman running, but that Harris "can handle them all."

“This is the team to pull our nation back from the brink," she said.

Clinton also devoted much of her speech to heralding the humanity behind both Biden and Harris, including telling a story about Tyrone Gayle, a Democratic operative who worked or both Clinton and Harris before he died in 2018.“

When her press secretary Tyrone Gayle was dying of cancer, she dropped everything to be with him,” Clinton said. “Because that’s who she is."

Of Biden, Clinton remembered the vice president calling when her mother died and how Biden handled Beau Biden’s death in 2015.


10:10 p.m. ET, August 19, 2020

"You tore our world apart": Daughter whose mother was deported pens scathing letter to Trump

From CNN's Josiah Ryan

Estela Juarez, left, with her mother Alejandra Juarez and sister Pamela Juarez.
Estela Juarez, left, with her mother Alejandra Juarez and sister Pamela Juarez. Democratic National Committee

A daughter whose mother was deported under the Trump administration in 2018, read aloud an emotional letter she wrote President Trump, saying that her father, who is a Marine Corps veteran who voted for him in 2016, would not do do so again.

In the video, played as a part of tonight's virtual DNC programming, Estela Juarez described her mother, Alejandra Juarez, as her "best friend," saying she "worked hard and paid taxes and the Obama administration said she could stay."

She writes that her father actually supported Trump in the 2016 election, believing that because of his vocal support for the military, he would protect their family. 

"My dad thought you would protect military families so he voted for you in 2016, Mr. President," she read. "He says he won't vote for you again after what you did to our family."

"Instead of protecting us you tore our world apart,” she read. 

"We need a President who will bring people together, not tear them apart," Estela Juarez said.

10:39 p.m. ET, August 19, 2020

Dreamer: We need a leader that will "commit to keeping families together"

The Sanchez Family.
The Sanchez Family. Democratic National Committee

In a section of tonight's programming focused on immigration, Silvia Sanchez, an undocumented immigrant in North Carolina, shared her story alongside daughters Jessica, who is a Dreamer, and Lucy, who is a US citizen.

Speaking in Spanish, Silvia said that she did what any mother would do to "save her daughter's life" after her daughter Jessica was born without a fully developed spinal cord and the doctors in their town told them she would not be able to survive.

Silvia said she took her daughter and "traveled for days" to reach the border and then crossed the river.

"We came to America before I was one years old. She saved my life," Jessica said of her mother.

Silvia said she had no choice but to come to the United States in search of a miracle. She said her family now works hard, contributes to their community and pays taxes in the country.

Jessica echoed her mother's sentiment, saying her home is in the US and she qualifies for DACA, the Obama-era program that shields from the deportation of certain undocumented immigrants who came to the US as children. But, she said President Trump took her ability to apply for the program.

Jessica explained that because she does not have the right ID, she cannot get insurance through the exchange.

"I need health insurance, I deserve it, right?" Jessica said.  

Jessica called on Americans to vote for a leader who "will fix the broken immigration system, and commit to keeping families together."

"It breaks our hearts to see children separated from their families at the border. That's wrong, those children need their parents," Silvia said.

"On November 3rd, I will vote for my mother, my sister, and my daughters. I will vote for a future where all of our lives have dignity and respect," Silvia's daughter Lucy said.

"I'm voting for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, the daughter of immigrants. Who are you going to vote for?" Lucy said in closing.