WILMINGTON, Del. — Joe Biden accepted the Democratic presidential nomination Thursday night with a call to optimism at a time of national fear, concluding an unusual four days of virtual pageantry in which Democrats portrayed their struggle against President Trump as a battle against a dark force with American democracy hanging in the balance.

In a 25-minute speech, the former vice president channeled concern over multiple, simultaneous crises facing the country while urging the American people to choose what he called “a path of hope and light.”

“The current president has cloaked America in darkness for much too long. Too much anger, too much fear, too much division,” Biden said. “Here and now, I give you my word: If you entrust me with the presidency, I will draw on the best of us, not the worst. I’ll be an ally of the light, not the darkness.”

He gave the remarks from an austere ballroom set with American flags but absent a crowd, due to health concerns driven by the coronavirus pandemic. The only accompaniment came from cars gathered outside, drive-in style, honking in lieu of applauding.

In the silence, he outlined his solutions to the pain of those struggling without a job or fearful of losing one. Looking at the camera and offering an attempt at solace, he directly addressed those left behind by the deaths of more than 170,000 Americans from covid-19. His voice rose while speaking about Trump and the response to the global pandemic.

“He keeps waiting for a miracle,” Biden said, never uttering Trump’s name. “Well, I have news for him: No miracle is coming.”

Biden also spoke directly to young people, who have been slow to warm to his candidacy. He noted their protests for racial justice and civil rights, their advocacy of gun control and their desire to see the nation deal with the crisis of climate change.

“I hear their voices and if you listen, you can hear them, too,” Biden said.

Biden showed a flash of anger when he turned to foreign policy and recent reports that Russia had placed bounties on American troops in Afghanistan, saying that in his presidency, “America will not turn a blind eye to Russian bounties on American soldiers.”

After emerging atop the most crowded presidential primary in recent history, the former two-term vice president and six-term U.S. senator from Delaware claimed the nomination on his third try, accepting it 12,126 days after he launched his first presidential campaign, in 1987.

Over five decades, Biden has traveled to almost every Democratic convention, often speaking but never as the headliner on the final night. This time, with the convention rendered virtual by the pandemic, he spoke from his hometown, inside a nearly empty ballroom just five miles from his house.

“In this dark moment, I believe we're poised to make great progress again,” Biden said.

“Are you ready? I believe we are,” Biden said as he closed his speech by quoting a favorite Irish poet, Seamus Heaney. “This is our moment to ‘make hope and history rhyme.’”

The speech followed an evening focused on Biden’s biography, with well-produced videos about his long Senate career, the life of his late son, Beau, and clips from his four granddaughters and two living children.

The Biden campaign is bracing for a brutal 10 weeks that are expected to be sharply divisive, with Trump already having spent months mocking Biden and criticizing his positions and his family. Republicans will take the national stage for their convention starting Monday, with four nights to showcase a competing vision for the nation.

Trump tweeted criticism during Biden’s address, and hours earlier, he held an event near Biden’s childhood home in Scranton, Pa., where he claimed that Biden had “abandoned” Pennsylvania. Biden was only 10 when his father, in search of a steady job, moved the family to Delaware, a wrenching decision that Biden often cites as he commiserates with the choices facing middle-class workers.

“He left,” Trump said of Biden. “He abandoned Pennsylvania. He abandoned Scranton. He was here for a short period of time, and he didn't even know it.”

During the rally, the president painted a dark picture of what would happen if he lost the election.

“If you want a vision of your life under [a] Biden presidency, think of the smoldering ruins in Minneapolis, the violent anarchy of Portland, the bloodstained sidewalks of Chicago,” Trump said from a building products company in Old Forge, Pa. “And imagine the mayhem coming to your town and every single town in America.”

Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.), who made history Wednesday night by becoming the first woman of color to accept the vice-presidential nomination of a major party, appeared at a fundraiser hours before Biden spoke Thursday and presaged Biden’s remarks.

“We are motivated by optimism,” Harris said to the 1,500 participants in the event. “This is not against something. This is a fight for something. Let that be our fuel as we go through these next 75 days.”

The evening also included a lineup of many of Biden’s presidential primary rivals, with seven of them captured reminiscing from their homes about the primary race and their personal interactions with Biden.

Entrepreneur Andrew Yang gave introductory remarks and was among the few speakers who spoke bluntly to disaffected voters.

“If you voted for Trump, or didn't vote at all, back in 2016, I get it,” he said. “Many of us have gotten tired of our leaders seeming far removed from our everyday lives. And we despair that our government will ever rise to the challenges of our time.”

He insisted that voting this year was essential.

Yang and the evening's host, actor and comedian Julia Louis-Dreyfus, also poked fun at Republicans who have repeatedly struggled to pronounce Harris's first name correctly. The two had an extended bit where they repeatedly mispronounced the name of Vice President Pence.

“I cannot wait to see her debate our current vice president, Mika Pints,” Louis-Dreyfus said. “Or is it paints?”

Louis-Dreyfus, who formed a bond with Biden when she played the first female vice president in the hit HBO comedy series “Veep,” repeatedly made jokes at Trump’s expense, a tonal adjustment for a convention that has been largely sober.

At the other end of the emotional spectrum was a young boy, Brayden Harrington, who Biden met in New Hampshire and to whom he offered advice for their shared condition, stuttering. In a halting but courageous address, he recounted how Biden had given him hope, as well as practical strategies.

Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) used his remarks to reflect on his grandfather, who left the Jim Crow South for a union job in Detroit.

“We’ll stand for those who cook, and serve, and clean; who plant and harvest; who pack and always deliver, whose hands are thick with calluses, like my granddad’s who held mine when I was a boy,” he said. “If he was alive, Joe and Kamala, he would be so proud of you — and he’d tell us, take another by the hand, and another, and let’s get to work, this dream ain’t free, you gotta work for it.”

Former South Bend, Ind., mayor Pete Buttigieg, another primary rival, focused on the social changes in the country and Biden's role as an early supporter for same-sex marriage.

“The day I was born, the idea of an out candidate seeking any federal office at all was laughable,” Buttigieg said from the site of his wedding celebration. “Yet earlier this year I campaigned for the presidency, often with my husband Chasten at my side, winning delegates to this very convention.”

While voting rights have been a frequent theme of the three previous Democratic sessions this week, the convention on Thursday included a tribute to John Lewis, the civil rights leader and Georgia congressman who died last month. After his death, Democrats renewed a push to strengthen the Voting Rights Act, which was central to his career but has been watered down by the Supreme Court in recent years.

“People often think that they can’t make a difference like our civil rights icons, but every person in the movement mattered — those who made the sandwiches, swept the church floors, stuffed the envelopes. They, too, changed America,” Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said. “And so can we.”

“We've cried out for justice, we have gathered in our streets to demand change,” she added. “And now, we must pass on the gift John Lewis sacrificed to give us, we must register and we must vote.”

The final night included performances from the Chicks (formerly the Dixie Chicks), singer John Legend, and rapper Common.

Stephen Curry, the NBA superstar, prerecorded a video of him and his wife, Ayesha, endorsing Biden and discussing his candidacy with their two young daughters.

Two Democratic senators who were on Biden’s list of potential running mates — Tammy Duckworth (Ill.) and Tammy Baldwin (Wis.) — also urged voters to side with Biden, as did former New York mayor Mike Bloomberg.

Bloomberg, the billionaire who plowed more than $1 billion into his short-lived campaign, spoke in exasperated tones about Trump.

“Why the hell would we ever rehire Donald Trump for another four years?” he asked. “Trump says we should vote for him because he's a great businessman. Really?”

Bloomberg has pledged to spend $60 million of his own fortune to help Democrats hold the House of Representatives and has not yet said how much he’ll spend in an effort to defeat Trump.

An emotional climax was a video tribute to Biden’s oldest son, Beau, whom he has described as his inspiration. He died of brain cancer in 2015.

Biden’s four granddaughters also recorded a video in which they revealed they called a family meeting to urge him to run — “Get in the race! Hurry up!” one said — as they also touted his love for ice cream and his inability to go longer than a day without calling them.

Biden's two living children, Hunter and Ashley, provided the introduction to their father by recounting his attributes and often finishing each other's sentences.

“He's been a great father,” Hunter Biden said.

“And we think he'll be a great president,” Ashley Biden said.

Hunter Biden has been a participant in his father’s previous campaigns but has been almost entirely absent from this race.

In recent years he has struggled with substance abuse, had a relationship with his brother's widow, settled a paternity case with an Arkansas woman, and married a California woman he'd met six days earlier. They have since had a child.

He didn't refer to those struggles Thursday, but said his dad has “the strongest shoulder you can ever lean on.”

Hunter Biden's seat on the board of a Ukrainian gas company while his father was vice president became the centerpiece of Trump's impeachment hearings. The president asked the current Ukrainian president to investigate the Bidens, despite no evidence of wrongdoing by either of them.

Trump and his supporters have repeatedly mocked Hunter Biden, frequently mentioning his absence from the campaign trail and selling T-shirts that read, “Where’s Hunter?”

Hunter Biden is central to an ongoing investigation in the Republican-controlled Senate that Democrats have dismissed as politically motivated and without merit.

Sen. Christopher A. Coons (D-Del.), a longtime friend of Biden's who now holds the seat Biden occupied for 36 years, delivered a personal speech Thursday that focused on the Catholic faith that has been a central part of Biden's life, albeit one that he doesn't frequently discuss.

“Joe knows the power of prayer, and I’ve seen him in moments of joy and triumph of loss and despair turned to God for strength,” Coons said. “Joe’s comforted me in my toughest moments, as he has so many others. I’ll never forget how Joe took the time to offer me words of comfort as my father lay in hospice.”

He rooted Biden's faith in the core of the American founding principles, and also in their political beliefs about the need to combat climate change or to fight for civil rights.

“Joe knows that it’s faith that sustains so many ordinary Americans who do extraordinary things,” Coons said. “Nurses who brave infection, firefighters who run into burning buildings, teachers working overtime, especially now they all deserve a servant leader who knows the dignity of work, who sees them, respects them, fights for them.”

August 21, 2020 at 5:49 PM EDT
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Responding to Post inquiry, Facebook removes operation for ‘voter suppression tactics’

By Isaac Stanley-Becker

Facebook on Friday deleted a page using an image of LeBron James, among other deceptive tactics, to spread false and misleading claims about mail-in voting, a day after The Washington Post raised questions about the online operation.

A Facebook spokeswoman, Devon Kearns, said the company was enforcing its policy against “voter interference.” She added, “We have removed this page for engaging in voter suppression tactics.”

The online effort, which aimed to steer Facebook users to a website raising unfounded concerns about mail balloting, was promoted extensively by FreedomWorks, the tax-exempt nonprofit group that helped launch tea party protests a decade ago and is now aligned with causes central to President Trump’s reelection. The messaging was in line with misinformation spread by Trump and his reelection campaign about the integrity of mail-in voting.

August 21, 2020 at 12:01 AM EDT
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Two words Biden never said: ‘Donald Trump’

By David Weigel

Four years ago, when she accepted the Democratic presidential nomination, Hillary Clinton mentioned her opponent by name 22 times. Tonight, Biden didn’t mention the president by name at all. Not even once.

The president, obviously, was a dominant character in Biden’s relatively brief speech. (It was less than half as long as Clinton’s, partly due to text and partly to the lack of applause breaks at the virtual convention.) Biden mentioned “this president” or the “current president” seven times, and talked at length about the deaths and economic devastation wrought by covid-19, a crisis he laid at Trump’s feet.

“No rhetoric is needed,” Biden said. “Just judge this president on the facts.”

But Biden’s treatment of Trump, as a nameless disaster from an era that was about to end, wrapped up a convention that stayed away from the “This guy? Really?" tone often dominant at the party’s last convention. On the convention’s closing night, Democratic irritation at Trump was mostly channeled through host Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who mocked the president for everything from concealing his tax returns to cheating at golf.

Over eight total hours, the Democratic convention made countless critiques of the Trump administration’s policies. But it did not make much use of the scandals that had defined long stretches of his presidency and captivated news outlets. While Trump is only the third president to be impeached and stand trial in the Senate, none of that came up. Neither did the arrests of some of his close campaign advisers, including today’s indictment of former Trump campaign chief executive Stephen K. Bannon.

August 20, 2020 at 11:40 PM EDT
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Biden: ‘The end of this chapter of American darkness began here tonight’

By Colby Itkowitz

Biden ended his acceptance speech by imagining an end to systematic racism, seizing the social shift on the issue born from the outrage over the killing of George Floyd.

Calling it the most important conversation he’d had this year, he recalled meeting Floyd’s six-year-old daughter at her father’s funeral, who told him, “Daddy changed the world.”

“Will we be the generation that finally wipes out the stain of racism from our national character?” Biden asked. “I believe we’re up to it. I believe we’re ready.”

He reiterated that it was the sight of neo-Nazis in Charlottesville, Virginia, three summers ago and Trump’s response to it, that led him to run for a third time for president.

“It was a wakeup call for us as a country. And for me, a call to action,” Biden said. “My father taught us that silence was complicity. And I can never remain silent or complicit.”

Biden, his voice raising, ended on optimism, the kind of hope and change message he ran on 12 years with President Obama. He called for Americans to unite, to move past these years of division.

For love is more powerful than hate. Hope is more powerful than fear. And light is more powerful and dark,” Biden said. “This is our moment. This is our mission."

"Will history be able to say that the end of this chapter of American darkness began here tonight?”

August 20, 2020 at 11:38 PM EDT
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Fact Checker: Biden on U.S. vs. the world on covid-19

By Salvador Rizzo

“Five million Americans infected by covid. More than 170,000 Americans have died. By far the worst performance of any nation.”

— Biden

Biden’s claim is accurate when using raw numbers. The United States leads all other countries in deaths and infections from the novel coronavirus.

However, to measure countries on a level playing field, public health experts look at cases or deaths per capita. According to a tracker from Johns Hopkins University, the United States has the fifth-highest coronavirus mortality rate per 100,000 people when looking at the 20 countries currently most affected. Peru, Spain, Chile and Brazil are higher.

August 20, 2020 at 11:37 PM EDT
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Fact Checker: Biden on Trump’s payroll tax plan

By Glenn Kessler

“He’s proposing to eliminate a tax that pays for almost half the social Security without any way of making up for that lost revenue resulting in cuts.”

— Biden

Biden is relying on comments made by President Trump after he signed an executive order that called for a payroll tax holiday after negotiations broke down with Congress on a coronavirus relief package.

The executive order would suspend collection of the 6.2 percent payroll tax imposed on wages for Social Security, starting Sept. 1. In theory, taxpayers would still be liable for the taxes at a later date, but the executive order says “the Secretary of the Treasury shall explore avenues, including legislation, to eliminate the obligation to pay the taxes deferred pursuant to the implementation of this memorandum.”

While the Trump White House has suggested this is similar to a payroll tax holiday in the Obama administration during the Great Recession, that law has a provision saying Social Security would be made whole with transfers from general funds. This executive order does not actually say that, but one would presume that any forgiveness would be accompanied by such transfers.

But since signing the executive order, Trump has repeatedly suggested he wanted to permanently end payroll taxes. “Payroll tax holiday, that’s a big, and what we’re doing is sometime after the election, if we win, we’re going to make that permanent, the payroll tax holiday. The payroll tax will be rescinded,” he told a North Carolina tele-rally on Aug. 11. On Aug. 8, he said at a news conference: “If I’m victorious on November 3rd, I plan to forgive these taxes and make permanent cuts to the payroll tax. So I’m going to make them all permanent.”

On Aug. 12, Trump said: “On the payroll tax, we’ll be terminating the payroll tax. After I hopefully get elected, we’ll be terminating the payroll tax.” He added that “will mean anywhere from 5,000 to even more per family and also great for businesses and great for jobs.”

That would mean eliminating the entire payroll tax, possibly even for Medicare. Trump asserted that he would pay for it through “tremendous growth.” (That’s simply not possible and both programs could face financial pressures.)

August 20, 2020 at 11:28 PM EDT
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Fact Checker: Biden on Trump and Charlottesvile

By Glenn Kessler

“Remember seeing those neo-Nazis and Klansmen and white supremacists coming out. … Remember what the president said when asked? He said there were, quote, very fine people on both sides. It was a wake-up call for us as a country. And for me, a call to action.”

— Biden

The march on Charlottesville by white supremacists in August 2017 — and President Trump’s response to it — is a central event of his presidency. Over the course of several days, Trump made a number of contradictory remarks, permitting both his supporters and foes to create their own version of what happened.

Biden has frequently suggested that Trump said the white supremacists were “very fine people.” But the reality is more complicated. Trump was initially criticized for not speaking more forcefully against the white nationalists on the day of the clashes, Aug. 12. Then, in an Aug. 14 statement, Trump actually condemned right-wing hate groups — “those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs, including the KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and other hate groups that are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans.”

But Trump muddied the waters on Aug. 15, a day later, by also saying: “You had people — and I’m not talking about the neo-Nazis and the white nationalists — because they should be condemned totally. But you had many people in that group other than neo-Nazis and white nationalists.” In was in this news conference that he said: “You had some very bad people in that group, but you also had people that were very fine people, on both sides.

Trump added: “There were people in that rally — and I looked the night before — if you look, there were people protesting very quietly the taking down of the statue of Robert E. Lee. I’m sure in that group there were some bad ones.”

The problem for Trump is that there were only neo-Nazis and white supremacists in the Friday night rally. He asserted there were people who were not alt-right who were “very quietly” protesting the removal of Lee’s statue.

It’s possible Trump became confused and was really referring to the Saturday rallies. But that’s also wrong. A Fact Checker examination of videos and testimony about the Saturday rallies found that there were white supremacists, there were counterprotesters — and there were heavily armed anti-government militias who showed up on Saturday.

The evidence shows there were no quiet protesters against removing the statue that weekend. That’s just a figment of the president’s imagination.

August 20, 2020 at 11:20 PM EDT
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‘I hear their voices,’ Biden says of young Americans

By Isaac Stanley-Becker

Biden, who struggled to inspire young voters to support his primary campaign, said Thursday he has heard the voices of young Americans and vowed to do them right as president.

“If you listen, you can hear them, too,” he said.

Their concerns, Biden said, range from the “existential threat posed by climate change” to the “daily fear of being gunned down in school.”

He spoke of the need to remove barriers to college, lower the costs of health care and expand access to child care — each necessary, he said, to “restore the promise of America to everyone.” Biden has declined to embrace some of the policies that drew younger voters to Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, his chief rival in the primary race. These include tuition-free public colleges and universities, as well as a single-payer health care system.

Biden leaned heavily on the enthusiasm generated by his vice-presidential pick, saying Sen. Kamala Harris of California represented the future of the country.

“Her story is the American story,” he affirmed.

August 20, 2020 at 11:15 PM EDT
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Biden dedicates much of acceptance speech to detailing how he would confront coronavirus crisis

By Jenna Johnson

Biden focused much of his acceptance speech Thursday night on a central promise to Americans: If elected he would “deal with” the coronavirus virus so that the country can get its economy back on track, safely reopen its schools and resume normal life.

Biden said that this crisis “didn’t have to be this bad” and that numbers of cases are lower in Canada, Europe, Japan and other countries. He accused President Trump of waiting for a miracle that’s never going to come.

“And after all of this time, the president still does not have a plan — well, I do,” Biden said, saying that he would implement a national strategy on his first day in office.

That plan includes offering widespread covid-19 testing that provides immediate results, ensuring schools have the resources they need to safely reopen and stocking the country with needed medical equipment and protective gear that’s produced in the United States so that it’s not reliant on countries like China. Biden reiterated his call for a national mask mandate.

“We’ll put politics aside, we’ll take the muzzle off our experts so the public gets the information they need and deserve — honest, unvarnished truth. They can handle it,” he said. “In short, we will do what we should have done from the very beginning. Our current president has failed in his most basic duty to the nation. He has failed to protect us. He has failed to protect America. And, my fellow Americans, that is unforgivable."

Biden spoke directly to those who have lost a loved one to covid-19, telling them he understands their deep loss.

“I found the best way through pain and loss and grief,” he said, “is to find purpose.”

August 20, 2020 at 11:11 PM EDT
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Biden describes ‘four historic crises’ facing America, calling 2020 a ‘life changing election’

By Colby Itkowitz and Chelsea Janes

Biden laid out what he says is at stake in this “life-changing election” as America faces four converging crises: a global pandemic, an economic crisis, racial injustice and climate change.

This will determine what America is going to look like for a long, long time,” Biden said. “Character is on the ballot. Compassion is on the ballot. Decency, science, democracy. They’re all on the ballot.”

Biden warned that another four years of Trump will mean more deaths from the coronavirus, more local businesses closures and more people kicked off their health insurance.

He praised his former boss, Barack Obama, for being someone children “could and did look up to,” before pivoting to direct attacks on Trump.

“No one’s gonna say that about the current occupant of the White House,” Biden said. “If this president, if he’s given four more years, he’ll be what he’s been for the last four years. This president takes no responsibility, refuses to lead, blames others, cozies up to dictators and fanned the flames of hate and division. He’ll wake up every day believing the job is all about him. Never about you.”

Biden specifically criticized Trump’s leadership during the covid-19 pandemic, and compared the United States to other countries to suggest the virus didn’t have to paralyze the nation like it has. He cited rising unemployment numbers and small business closures as an indictment on Trump’s economy, and bemoaned his tax cuts for the wealthy as widening the wealth gap. Biden also pointed to Trump’s attacks on the Affordable Care Act as a sign that fewer people will have health insurance under another four years of Trump.

We’ll never have our lives back until we deal with this,” Biden said, referring to the pandemic. “The president keeps telling us the virus is going to disappear. He keeps waiting for a miracle. Well, I have news for him. No miracle is coming.”

August 20, 2020 at 11:01 PM EDT
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Biden: Trump ‘has cloaked America in darkness’

By Isaac Stanley-Becker

Biden began his remarks accepting the Democratic nomination for president with a broadside against Trump, saying that “the current president has cloaked America in darkness for much too long.”

“Too much anger,” Biden said. “Too much fear. Too much division.”

For a different way, the former vice president offered the vision of Ella Baker, a civil rights activist, who said, “Give light and people will find the way.”

If elected, Biden said, he would be “an ally of the light, not the darkness.” That, he added, would mean quickly reaching beyond his own party. Though he is a “Democratic candidate,” Biden said, he vowed to be an “American president.”

“I’ll work hard for those who didn’t support me,” he pledged, before quoting his old partner in the White House, who famously said at the party’s 2004 convention, “We’re not red states and blue states; we’re all Americans, standing up together for the red, white, and blue.”

Biden said: “America isn’t just a collection of clashing interests, of red states and blue states. We’re so much bigger than that. We’re so much better than that.”

August 20, 2020 at 10:48 PM EDT
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On Hannity, Trump attacks Biden, baselessly suggests there will be voting fraud in November

By Josh Dawsey

Before Biden took the stage to accept the Democratic nomination Thursday night, President Trump called into Sean Hannity’s show on Fox News for a preview of how he plans to attack the Democratic nominee.

He characterized Biden as mentally lost and cast aspersions extensively on mail-in voting, predicting without evidence apocalyptic fraud.

“This is going to be the greatest scam in history. This will be the most fraudulent election in history. It’s going to be a really horrible thing,” Trump said. He suggested without evidence that some states might send ballots only to Democrats.

When asked if he would have poll watchers or others monitoring the election, Trump gave an ominous answer. “We’re going to have everything. We’re going to have sheriffs, and we’re going to have law enforcement, and we’re going to hopefully have U.S. attorneys and we’re going to have everybody, and attorney generals. But it’s very hard.”

Trump said suburban voters are going to support him because he has been more supportive of the police. “They’re going to really want to support me. We’re for law and order; we’re for safety and security. And Biden is not,” he said. Trump’s campaign has falsely and repeatedly said that Biden wants to defund police departments.

The president spoke on the phone from the White House after Hannity interviewed a number of his aides and allies, including Sarah Sanders and Dan Bongino.

Trump attacked Michelle and Barack Obama after they gave scathing speeches attacking his presidency earlier this week, saying Michelle Obama was filled with hate and that Barack Obama was one of the worst presidents ever. “He was a terrible president, a very divisive person,” Trump said.

The president repeatedly referenced arguments that Biden had lost his mental footing, a frequent theme of his campaign, particularly as Trump has trailed in the polls.

Asked about next week’s convention, Trump seemed more interested in talking about his election night win in 2016, saying how Hillary Clinton’s team was so surprised and ticking through states he won. “It was quite an evening,” he said wistfully.

August 20, 2020 at 10:48 PM EDT
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Bloomberg says Trump has ‘done a bad job’

By Chelsea Janes

Some Democrats were surprised to hear former 2020 presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg would be speaking late in the program on the final night of the Democratic convention, given he isn’t a lifelong Democrat. He acknowledged the inconsistency by saying he isn’t much for partisan politics, in part because he’s been a Democrat, Republican and Independent.

Then Bloomberg explained that this election is instead about people and noted that “the two people running for president couldn’t be more different.”

“One believes in facts. One does not. One listens to experts. The other thinks he knows everything. One looks forward and sees strength in America’s diversity. The other looks backwards. And sees immigrants as enemies and white supremacists as allies,” Bloomberg said.

He then outlined one of the more policy-oriented arguments against Trump made Thursday night.

“Would you rehire or work for someone who ran your business into the ground and who always does what’s best for him or her even when it hurts the company, and whose reckless decisions always put you in danger, and who spends more time tweeting than working?” Bloomberg asked. “If the answer is no, why the hell would we rehire Donald Trump for four more years?”

Bloomberg, who has long operated in the same New York orbits at Trump, attacked Trump’s business instincts. He said Trump is wrong for arguing that the economy was strong before the coronavirus pandemic and said the Obama administration created more jobs than he had.

“So let’s put an end to this whole sorry chapter in American history and elect leaders who will bring integrity and stability, sanity and competence back to the White House,” Bloomberg said. “Joe and Kamala, go get ‘em, for all of us.”

August 20, 2020 at 10:46 PM EDT
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Pete Buttigieg discusses Biden embrace of gay marriage, introduces primary candidate Zoom chat

By Colby Itkowitz

Pete Buttigieg, former South Bend, Ind. mayor and Democratic presidential candidate, introduced a Zoom conversation between many of the leading Democratic primary opponents discussing Biden and their optimism for America under their leadership.

But first, Buttigieg spoke about his support for Biden.

A veteran, Buttigieg spoke immediately after a video in memory of Biden’s deceased son, Beau, also a veteran, who, like Buttigieg, was considered a rising star in the Democratic Party. Biden himself once said Buttigieg “reminds me of my son, Beau.”

Beau Biden lived a life of service in office and in uniform,” Buttigieg said. “When you put your life on the line for this country, you do it not because it’s the country you live in, but because it’s a country you believe in.”

Buttigieg, who is gay, spoke, as he often did on the campaign trail, about his marriage and how it hadn’t been possible less than a decade ago. He referenced Biden’s embrace of same-sex marriage during the Obama administration.

Love makes my marriage real, but political courage made it possible, including that of Joe Biden, who stepped out ahead even of this party when he said that marriage equality ought to be the law of the land,” Buttigieg said. “There is a long way to go, but if this much can change between 2010 and 2020, imagine what could change between now and 2030. Imagine what we could achieve."

Buttigieg’s speech segued into the Democratic hopefuls on Zoom laughing and sharing tales of their interactions with Biden on the campaign trail and beyond.

In Joe Biden, you have a human being who is empathetic, who is honest, who is decent. And at this particular moment in American history,” said Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). “My God, that is something that this country absolutely needs.”

August 20, 2020 at 10:41 PM EDT
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Fact Checker: Bloomberg on the 2009 auto rescue

By Glenn Kessler

“While Biden helped save one million auto industry jobs, Trump has lost two hundred and fifty thousand manufacturing jobs.”

— Former New York mayor Mike Bloomberg

Bloomberg slips in the word “helped,” which suggests that former vice president Biden shouldn’t get all of the credit for the 2009 rescue of the auto industry. And that’s the case — the initial loans to automakers advanced by then-President George W. Bush in 2008 was also critical to saving the auto industry.

The Bush and Obama administrations loaned a total of $80 billion to the auto industry, including General Motors, Chrysler and part suppliers. The Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor, Mich., in 2013 calculated that the loans saved 1.5 million jobs.

As for manufacturing jobs, Bloomberg also undersold that figure. Since February 2017, the number of manufacturing jobs in the United States has declined by 272,000 manufacturing jobs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.