On the first night of the Democratic National Convention, former first lady Michelle Obama delivered a searing critique of President Trump, accusing him of being “in over his head” and incapable of carrying out the duties of the office. “If you think things cannot possibly get worse, trust me, they can,” Obama said. We air excerpts from her keynote speech, delivered virtually after the convention was moved online due to the pandemic.
AMY GOODMAN: Former first lady Michelle Obama and former presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders headlined the opening night of the virtual Democratic National Convention Monday. The DNC was originally scheduled to be held in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, but it was moved entirely online due to public health concerns. Michelle Obama gave the keynote address.
MICHELLE OBAMA: When my husband left office with Joe Biden at his side, we had a record-breaking stretch of job creation. We’d secured the right to healthcare for 20 million people. We were respected around the world, rallying our allies to confront climate change. And our leaders had worked hand in hand with scientists to help prevent an Ebola outbreak from becoming a global pandemic.
Four years later, the state of this nation is very different. More than 150,000 people have died, and our economy is in shambles, because of a virus that this president downplayed for too long. It has left millions of people jobless. Too many have lost their healthcare. Too many are struggling to take care of basic necessities like food and rent. Too many communities have been left in the lurch to grapple with whether and how to open our schools safely. Internationally, we’ve turned our back, not just on agreements forged by my husband, but on alliances championed by presidents like Reagan and Eisenhower.
And here at home, as George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and a never-ending list of innocent people of color continue to be murdered, stating the simple fact that a Black life matters is still met with derision from the nation’s highest office, because 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 and utter lack of empathy. …
So, 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 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.
Now, I understand that my message won’t be heard by some people. We live in a nation that is deeply divided, and I am a Black woman speaking at the Democratic convention. But enough of you know me by now. You know that I tell you exactly what I’m feeling. You know I hate politics. But you also know that I care about this nation. You know how much I care about all of our children.
So, if you take one thing from my words tonight, it is this: If you think things cannot possibly get worse, trust me, they can; and they will, if we don’t make a change in this election. If we have any hope of ending this chaos, we have got to vote for Joe Biden like our lives depend on it. …
And if we want a chance to pursue any of these goals, any of these most basic requirements for a functioning society, we have to vote for Joe Biden in numbers that cannot be ignored, because right now folks who know they cannot win fair and square at the ballot box are doing everything they can to stop us from voting. They’re closing down polling places in minority neighborhoods, they’re purging voter rolls, they’re sending people out to intimidate voters, and they’re lying about the security of our ballots.
AMY GOODMAN: Former first lady Michelle Obama, speaking at the virtual Democratic National Convention on the first night.