with Mariana Alfaro

WILMINGTON, Del. – This was not a speech Melania Trump will want to crib from.

At the 2016 Republican convention in Cleveland, Donald Trump’s wife borrowed verbatim from the remarks that Michelle Obama had delivered eight years earlier at the Democratic convention in Denver. This was possible because Obama had spoken quite generally when she introduced herself. She said her parents had raised her to work hard for what you want in life, that your word is your bond and that you should treat people with respect. The Trump campaign blamed a staffer for copying and pasting these bromides.

On Monday, closing out the first night of the mostly virtual Democratic convention, Obama did not mince words or waste time on generalities. She vigorously defended her signature catchphrase from the Democratic convention in Philadelphia four years ago – “when they go low, we go high” – but also sought to refine its meaning as she delivered the most stinging public rebuke of a sitting president by a former first lady in American history.

Former first lady Michelle Obama virtually addressed the audience on the opening day of the Democratic National Convention on Aug. 17. (The Washington Post)

“Over the past four years, a lot of people have asked me, ‘When others are going so low, does going high still really work?’ My answer: Going high is the only thing that works,” Obama said. “Because when we go low, when we use those same tactics of degrading and dehumanizing others, we just become part of the ugly noise that’s drowning out everything else. We degrade ourselves. We degrade the very causes for which we fight. 

“But let’s be clear,” she continued. “Going high does not mean putting on a smile and saying nice things when confronted by viciousness and cruelty. Going high means taking the harder path. It means scraping and clawing our way to that mountain top. Going high means standing fierce against hatred while remembering that we are one nation under God, and if we want to survive, we’ve got to find a way to live together and work together across our differences. And going high means unlocking the shackles of lies and mistrust with the only thing that can truly set us free: the cold hard truth.”

That is a far cry from her 2016 speech, when the then-first lady refused to say Trump’s name.

Her “we go high” catchphrase, which Hillary Clinton and Democrats down the ballot embraced in 2016, has become surprisingly polarizing during Trump’s three-and-a-half years in power.

In October 2018, for example, former Obama administration attorney general Eric Holder was considering a run for president as he stumped in Georgia before the midterm elections. “Michelle always says, ‘When they go low, we go high.’ No! No,” he said. “When they go low, we kick them. That’s what this new Democratic Party is about.”

That same week, Clinton told CNN: “You cannot be civil with a political party that wants to destroy what you stand for.” 

Neera Tanden, an alumna of the Obama administration and the president of the liberal Center for American Progress think tank, has said that an “important lesson” of the Trump presidency is that “when they go low, going high doesn’t … work.” 

Lawyer Michael Avenatti flirted with running for the Democratic presidential nomination before he was convicted of trying to extort Nike for $25 million and had a falling out with his former client Stormy Daniels, the porn star who alleges that she carried on an extramarital affair with Trump while Melania was pregnant and was paid to keep quiet about it before the 2016 election. Two Augusts ago, Avenatti flew to Iowa for the state party’s famous Wing Ding dinner. His message was that Democrats should be “fighting fire with fire.” To thunderous applause, he declared: “When they go low, I say, we hit harder!”

Joe Biden prevailed in the Democratic primaries by running as the going-high candidate. His more liberal opponents ridiculed him through the nominating contest for saying he can work with Republicans and promising to break the fever of partisan gridlock in the capital. Biden often said Republicans are good people, as he mused about restoring “the soul of the country.”

Obama, who has never enjoyed partisan politics, broke through on a night that mostly felt like a long national Zoom call. Sitting alone, the camera zoomed in for a tight shot. Only a blue Biden campaign sign stood out in an otherwise nondescript room. At times, she seemed on the verge of tears.

“Let me be as honest and clear as I possibly can: Donald Trump is the wrong president for our country,” Obama said. “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.”

“It is what it is” needed no elaboration. When Trump said during a recent interview that the novel coronavirus is under control, Axios’s Jonathan Swan responded that it is killing more than 1,000 Americans every day. “They are dying, that's true,” the president said. “It is what it is.”

The former first lady’s speech clearly got under Trump’s skin. He posted several tweets along these lines this morning:

Obama recorded her speech before Biden picked his running mate, which is why she did not mention Sen. Kamala Harris (Calif.). It is also why she said “more than 150,000 people have died” from the coronavirus in the United States. Since then, the number has risen to more than 167,000. 

On a night of condensed speeches, Obama’s 18-minute address was more than twice as long as Sen. Bernie Sanders’s, even though he was the runner-up for the Democratic nomination. Read in full, it was as much an indictment of Trump as an endorsement of Biden. She called her husband’s former No. 2 “a profoundly decent man,” described his life as “a testament to getting back up” and promised that he would “channel that same grit and passion to pick us all up, to help us heal and guide us forward.” 

“Joe is not perfect,” she said. “And he’d be the first to tell you that. But there is no perfect candidate, no perfect president.”

Obama wore a golden necklace that spelled V-O-T-E from the Black-owned jewelry brand ByChari and pleaded with viewers to request their mail-in ballots right away. “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,” she said. “If we have any hope of ending this chaos, we have got to vote for Joe Biden like our lives depend on it.”

Kristin Urquiza on Aug. 17 blamed her father's death on President Trump and Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey for their “carelessness" in handling the pandemic. (The Washington Post)
Six other memorable moments from the opening night

Kristin Urquiza said her 65-year-old father, who lived in Arizona, went out for karaoke with friends because the president he supported was downplaying the danger of the coronavirus. “His only preexisting condition was trusting Donald Trump, and for that, he paid with his life,” she said.

Former Ohio governor John Kasich, a Republican candidate for president in 2016, said he is comfortable endorsing Biden because he does not think the former vice president will lurch leftward if elected. “In normal times, something like this would probably never happen, but these are not normal times,” Kasich said. Former New Jersey governor Christine Whitman, 2010 California gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman and former representative Susan Molinari (N.Y.) were among the other Republicans who said they will vote for Biden.

George Floyd’s brother Philonise led a moment of silence. “When this moment ends, let’s make sure we never stop saying their names,” he said.

Eric Garner’s mother, Gwen Carr, urged protesters not to lose their passion the way they did after her son died in 2014 after a New York police officer used an illegal chokehold. “I know when my son was murdered, it was a big uprising, but then it settled down,” she said. “We can’t let things settle down. We have to go to the politicians, and we have to hold their feet to the fire, because otherwise the big uprising is not going to mean a lot.”

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, both Democrats, attacked Trump’s handling of covid-19. “Only a strong body can fight off the virus, and America’s divisions weakened it,” Cuomo said. “Donald Trump didn’t create the initial division. The division created Trump. He only made it worse.”

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (Minn.) retains the sense of humor that she showed on the campaign trail earlier this year: “You know, the president may hate the post office, but he’s still going to have to send them a change-of-address card come January.”

Quote of the day

“Nero fiddled while Rome burned,” Sanders said. “Trump golfs.”

Jill Biden, tonight’s headliner, is a more powerful gatekeeper than ever in her husband’s orbit.

So central was her role in the V.P. process that the selection committee presented their initial findings to the Bidens as a pair, and she was the one who notified the four co-chairs that they had picked Harris. Close friends and confidants say the former second lady is playing a far more active role in her husband’s campaign than she did when he ran in 1988 and 2008. “Family dynamics have changed, too, since the last time Joe ran for office — particularly after Beau Biden’s 2015 death of brain cancer at 46. Beau’s absence as his father’s confidant has left a vacuum that Jill has filled,” Jada Yuan and Annie Linskey report

An eyebrow-raising nugget from their profile: “Jill was not a professional model like Melania Trump, but she did pose for local advertisements shot by a photographer friend, one of which caught the eye of 32-year-old first-term Sen. Joe Biden as he walked through the Wilmington airport in 1975. As it turned out, his brother Frank knew Jill and gave Joe her number. … Jill was about nine years younger … Senate payroll records reviewed by The Washington Post also show that Jill worked as a ‘staff assistant’ for four and a half months in Joe Biden’s office, from Sept. 10, 1975, until Jan. 25, 1976. This was before they married in 1977, and she used her prior married name, Jill T. Stevenson. … A Biden campaign aide downplayed her role, saying she was answering the phone in a front office when he was short-staffed.”

Also speaking tonight: Former president Bill Clinton, former secretary of state John Kerry, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (N.Y.), former acting attorney general Sally Yates and Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.) and Lisa Blunt Rochester (Del.). I will join The Post’s live show from 8 p.m. until 9 p.m. Eastern to preview the program and from 11 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. to offer post-speech analysis. You can stream the proceedings on our homepage.

More election news

A bipartisan Senate report says Trump’s 2016 chairman posed a “grave counterintelligence threat.”

“The Senate Intelligence Committee report states that former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort worked with a Russian intelligence officer ‘on narratives that sought to undermine evidence that Russia interfered in the 2016 U.S. election,’ including the idea that Ukrainian election interference was of greater concern,” Karoun Demirjian reports. “The report states that a Russian attorney who met with Manafort, the president’s son, Donald Trump Jr., and his son-in-law Jared Kushner at Trump Tower in 2016 had ‘significant connections’ to the Kremlin. The information she offered to them was also ‘part of a broader influence operation targeting the United States that was coordinated, at least in part with elements of the Russian government,’ the report states.” (Read the 966-page report here.)

The postmaster general will testify before the Senate governmental affairs committee hearing on Friday.

“It will be [Louis] DeJoy’s first opportunity to publicly answer lawmakers’ questions about the nation’s embattled mail service, which is experiencing delays as a result of policies DeJoy implemented cutting overtime and eliminating extra trips to ensure on-time mail delivery,” Jacob Bogage reports. “DeJoy and USPS board of governors Chairman Robert M. Duncan are also set to testify before the House Oversight Committee on Monday.”

Miles Taylor, who served as DHS chief of staff under Trump, says the president is dangerous. 

In an op-ed for today’s newspaper, the Trump appointee says the president “has tried to turn DHS, the nation’s largest law enforcement agency, into a tool used for his political benefit. He insisted on a near-total focus on issues that he said were central to his reelection — in particular building a wall on the U.S. border with Mexico. … Top DHS officials were regularly diverted from dealing with genuine security threats by the chore of responding to these inappropriate and often absurd executive requests, at all hours of the day and night. … Trump has also damaged the country in countless ways that don’t directly involve national security but, by stoking hatred and division, make Americans profoundly less safe. … It is more than a little ironic that Trump is campaigning for a second term as a law-and-order president. His first term has been dangerously chaotic. Four more years of this are unthinkable.” (Taylor also recorded a video testimonial for Republican Voters Against Trump.)

  • A self-described “senior Trump administration official,” who remains anonymous and has not revealed his or her identity, urges voters to ditch Trump in a new preface for the paperback version of the 2019 best-selling book “A Warning.” (Politico)
  • Trump kicked off his week of counterprogramming with three speeches in the Midwest. In Minnesota and Wisconsin, the president said the economy is recovering, depicted a dark future of crime-filled mayhem should Biden win and mocked Biden's mental acuity. (Seung Min Kim)
  • The St. Louis couple who wielded guns as Black Lives Matter protesters walked down their street, Patricia and Mark McCloskey, will appear during the largely digital Republican National Convention next week. (Josh Dawsey)
  • Harris’s husband, Doug Emhoff, will take a leave of absence from his law firm, DLA Piper, which he joined in 2017 as a partner. The firm’s list of clients includes foreign entities. (NYT)
  • Mike Bloomberg pledged $60 million to help Democrats retain their House majority, roughly matching the money he invested in House races two years ago. (Michael Scherer)
  • The United Association of Union Plumbers and Pipefitters backed Biden despite his promise to stop the Keystone XL pipeline. Mark McManus, its general president, said his members take solace in Biden's promise to spend heavily on water infrastructure projects that would replace lead pipes and thereby keep them fully employed. (Dino Grandoni)
  • DNC Chair Tom Perez said he wants to get rid of presidential caucuses. “I think by 2024 we ought to have everyone being a primary state,” Perez told the AP.

The coronavirus

UNC-Chapel Hill shifted to online learning following covid-19 outbreaks during the first week of class. 

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, with 30,000 students, was one of the largest schools in the country to bring students to campus for in-person teaching. Now it will pivot to all-remote instruction for undergraduates after 177 cases were confirmed among students out of hundreds tested, Nick Anderson reports. Another 349 students were in quarantine, on and off campus, because of possible exposure to the virus. The remote-teaching order goes into effect tomorrow. “So far, we have been fortunate that most students who have tested positive have demonstrated mild symptoms," Chancellor Kevin Guskiewivz and Provost Robert Blouin said in a statement. The news follows reports of risky gatherings of students in close quarters and without masks in college towns across America, especially in Alabama and Georgia. A cluster of 23 confirmed cases hit a sorority house at Oklahoma State University, while the University of Notre Dame, which is also one week into its term, has confirmed 58 cases. The Catholic university is teaching primarily in person.

Chapel Hill’s student newspaper summed up the school’s coronavirus policy with an f-bomb. Paige Masten, opinion editor at the Daily Tar Heel, had a pointed message she wanted to convey along with an editorial calling out the university’s covid-19 practices. She called to Editor in chief Anna Pogarcic with one question: “Can I use clusterf--- in a headline?” “It is a mess,” Pogarcic said. “And I said, ‘You know what? Go for it. Print news, raise hell.’” Images of the paper's profanity-laden headline were shared widely online, many lauding the student journalists for not mincing words. The online version of the editorial included a definition for the noun printed on the page: “a complex and utterly disordered and mismanaged situation.” (Paulina Firozi)

Students at several universities have held “die-in” demonstrations to protest their colleges’ reopening plans. “At Georgia Tech, where classes began on Monday, roughly 40 students and members of the campus workers’ union staged a die-in to demand better protection for employees,” Antonia Farzan reports. “Monday also marked the first day of classes at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), where nearly 100 students joined a protest saying it was too dangerous to reopen … At the University of Arizona last week, graduate students held a die-in with mock tombstones. The protesters maintained social distancing while lying on the grass. Similar demonstrations took place at Elon University and the University of Georgia earlier this month.” At least 2,035 students and 589 teachers in Mississippi have been ordered to quarantine due to possible exposure to the virus, said the state's chief health officer. 

Trump’s unemployment extension may wind up only providing a three-week boost.

“Under Trump’s order, the U.S. government aims to front the money for jobless Americans who would get at least an extra $300 in weekly payments. The dollars will come from a federal disaster relief fund managed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which will initially dispatch an amount to the states meant to cover three weeks’ worth of payments, the Trump administration said,” Tony Romm reports. “FEMA said the additional weeks of aid depend on the amount remaining in the federal disaster relief program, which has capped the new unemployment initiative at $44 billion. The Trump administration did not specify an exact date as to when the money would reach workers, but FEMA said in its guidance that it anticipated it could take an ‘average’ of three weeks from when Trump first signed his directive — perhaps putting some of those first payments around Aug. 29.”

Trump keeps falsely claiming he is “stopping evictions.” 

“In Milwaukee, where thousands of people are still waiting for unemployment benefits, legal aid attorneys discussed presenting Trump’s executive order to judges in the hope of stopping the recent spike in local evictions but determined it would not work,” Renae Merle reports. “Trump’s executive order directed some regulators to study whether an eviction moratorium was necessary and others to investigate whether they could appropriate money for rental assistance. But it fell short of reinstating the federal eviction ban that prohibited evictions of 12 million renters in government-backed properties that expired last month, as many had expected.”

  • Trump said there's been a “big surge” of cases in New Zealand, but the country recorded just nine new cases on Monday and 13 on Tuesday. “Anyone who is following will quite easily see that New Zealand’s nine cases in a day do not compare to the United States’ tens of thousands,” said New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. (Tim Elfrink)
  • Wuhan held a massive pool party at water park where thousands of revelers gathered with no masks or social distancing. Life has gradually returned to normal in the city, which has not officially reported any new covid-19 cases since mid-May. (CNN)
  • The Department of Agriculture said mink at two Utah fur farms have tested positive for the coronavirus, the first known U.S. cases in a species widely culled in Europe following outbreaks there. (Karin Brulliard)
  • Trump announced he opposes his own Defense Department's proposal to slash spending on military health care by $2.2 billion. “We will do nothing to hurt our great Military professionals & heroes as long as I am your President,” he tweeted. (Politico)
  • Most Americans favor requiring people to wear face coverings in public, polls show. Increasingly, this silent majority is pushing back against the smaller but louder anti-mask crowd. (Marc Fisher)
  • The U.S. has too many ventilators. In the spring, the government launched a $3 billion effort to build ventilators. Then virus treatments evolved — and now the devices are piling up unused in a strategic reserve. (Faiz Siddiqui)
A study shows how residential segregation worsens coronavirus disparities. 

“Counties with the highest percentage of White residents have had the lowest rates of coronavirus infections, even as infections have increased with the reopening of some states’ economies,” Vanessa Williams reports. “That doesn’t mean White people have more immunity but rather that they have been better able to limit their exposure than have Black people, Latinos and Native Americans … Neither does it mean that people of color are engaging in reckless behavior, the study by Amfar states. Rather, their higher rate of infection is due to ‘poverty and living in densely occupied households, living in localities with greater air pollution, lack of health insurance and being employed in jobs that increase exposure to’ the coronavirus. ‘We need to stop victim-blaming communities of color for these types of diseases,’ Greg Millett, vice president and director of public policy for Amfar, the Foundation for AIDS Research, said." 

The virus invaded the District and Maryland multiple times in March, according to genetic analysis. 

“The study, from Johns Hopkins University scientists, highlights the challenge in preventing the arrival and spread of the highly contagious virus within a region that anchors the Northeast Corridor and boasts three international airports and a highly mobile population,” Joel Achenbach reports. “The researchers report high levels of genetic diversity in the 114 genomes they completed, based on samples from patients treated in Johns Hopkins-affiliated hospitals in Maryland and the District from March 11 to March 31. The research has not yet been published in a peer-reviewed journal but has been posted online at the preprint server medRxiv.” 

  • D.C. will hire more contact tracers as case numbers plateau across the region. The greater Washington region added 1,290 cases and six fatalities Monday. D.C. reported 53 new ­cases and no new deaths, Maryland reported 503 new cases and two deaths, while Virginia had 734 cases and four deaths. (Julie Zauzmer, Rebecca Tan and Dana Hedgpeth
  • Police in the District and around the country are grappling with when and how to enforce social distancing restrictions and mask requirements. (Peter Hermann and Michael Brice-Saddler)
  • Something to look forward to? The flu was all but eliminated in South Africa this year – because of the coronavirus. While some people are certainly staying home and not reporting mild sicknesses, social distancing and better hygiene seems to be reducing the incidence of influenza. (Lesley Wroughton and Max Bearak)

Divided America

A man was seriously injured Aug. 16 when protesters beat him after he crashed his truck on a sidewalk in Portland. (The Washington Post)
A man was seriously injured after crashing his truck during a Black Lives Matter protest in Portland.

“Portland police said they received a report at about 10:30 p.m. on Sunday that a man, who has not been identified, had been injured near the intersection of Southwest Broadway and Southwest Taylor Street. The incident occurred several blocks away from a Black Lives Matter rally in front of the Justice Center, which houses the city’s jail and a police precinct,” Katie Shepherd reports. “‘The report said protesters were chasing the truck before it crashed, and they assaulted the driver after the crash,’ Sgt. Kevin Allen told The Washington Post in a statement early Monday. … Police released additional information Monday afternoon, saying that people surrounded the truck after it crashed, approached the driver and ‘drug him out of car.’ Investigators also learned that ‘the victim may have been trying to help a transgender female who had some of her things stolen,’ police said … A Portland police spokesman added on Monday that the victim suffered non-life-threatening injuries and was recovering in an area hospital. Videos shot just after the truck crashed show a small group of people confronting the driver, pulling him away from the vehicle and slamming him to the ground."

  • Virginia state Sen. L. Louise Lucas (D-Portsmouth) was charged with being part of a conspiracy to topple the city’s Confederate Monument, drawing outrage from allies who say the accusations are payback for the Black legislator’s work to rein in police abuses. Police Chief Angela Greene announced felony warrants against Lucas and more than a dozen others, including local public defenders and NAACP representatives. (Laura Vozzella and Gregory Schneider)
  • High school students at large public systems, elite private schools and small parochial institutions are demanding that schools teach more Black history and literature. Their demands extend beyond the classroom: Many are also calling for the removal of armed police in school hallways, the hiring of more Black and Hispanic teachers and for anti-racist training for students and staff. (Hannah Natanson)
  • Clemson University historians found more than 200 unmarked and unkempt graves where enslaved people were buried. Many were owned by John C. Calhoun, the nation’s seventh vice president, whose plantation later became the school’s campus. (Jaclyn Peiser)
  • A federal judge blocked the administration from ending transgender health-care protections. The new rules were set to take effect today and would have reversed Obama-era Affordable Care Act regulations that said discrimination protections “on the basis of sex” should apply to transgender people. (Samantha Schmidt)
  • Some Justice Department staffers have raised concerns over plans by Attorney General Bill Barr to bring an antitrust lawsuit against Google, arguing that the case isn’t ready. (WSJ)

The new world order

The U.S. military has made about $2 million in condolence payments to civilians in Afghanistan over the past five years.

“The catalogue of ‘ex gratia payments,’ which has not been made public previously, shows that the amount of condolence offerings has fluctuated in recent years, peaking in 2016 with nearly 300 payments totaling $1.4 million. Individual sums have varied dramatically, ranging from $131 to $40,000,” Missy Ryan reports. “The tally obtained by The Post, which also includes ‘battle damage’ outlays and payments to families of local partner forces killed in the line of duty, provides a rare glimpse into the military’s uneven, typically opaque handling of the civilian toll of battlefield operations. But activists said the military must do far more to mitigate civilian harm, calling on the Pentagon to standardize and increase amends payments under a more transparent system, even as the United States seeks to wind down nearly two decades of counterinsurgent wars.”

  • Several mortar shells struck Kabul as Afghans celebrated their Independence Day. No militant group immediately claimed responsibility. Four children were among the wounded, the AP reported.
A former CIA officer was accused of sharing American secrets with China. 

Alexander Yuk Ching Ma, 67, a naturalized U.S. citizen who worked for the agency in the 1980s, was charged in federal court in Hawaii with conspiring to give up national defense intelligence for nearly a decade, Matt Zapotosky reports. The information included the identity of CIA officers, the covers they used and information about their sources and operations, according to newly unsealed court documents. Ma worked with a co-conspirator to identify people that Chinese intelligence suspected of being U.S. sources, according to the affidavit. The co-conspirator worked for the CIA from 1967 to 1983, when he allegedly resigned after he was found to have been using his position to help Chinese nationals get into the U.S. Though not identified in the document, the affidavit says the co-conspirator is a relative of Ma and is currently 85. Prosecutors said they did not seek an arrest warrant for him because he has a “debilitating cognitive disease."

  • The U.S. tightened restrictions on Huawei again, making its harshest move yet to block the company’s access to semiconductor chips. Industry executives said the latest restrictions could deal a crippling blow to the Chinese tech giant, but Huawei has previously found ways to work around other U.S. restrictions while continuing to report sales growth. (Jeanne Whalen and Ellen Nakashima)
Bibi set aside the West Bank annexation in order to reach a deal with the UAE. Will he revive the plan?

“As Israeli officials prepared to travel to the UAE capital, Abu Dhabi, to negotiate details of the new relationship, it has become clear that the future of West Bank annexation — now halted under the deal — remains unresolved and much disputed, threatening to sow tensions within Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s political base. The agreement revealed Thursday stipulates that Israel will ‘suspend’ annexation as a prerequisite to gaining full diplomatic relations with the UAE,” Steve Hendrix reports. “Trump said the annexation plan is ‘off the table.’ UAE officials have made clear that they view the freeze as permanent and that ending Israel’s expansionist plans was a key incentive for the agreement. But Netanyahu insisted in a rare blitz of interviews and in a video released Sunday that ‘sovereignty,’ as Israelis refer to annexation, ‘has not been removed from the agenda.’ ‘I am the one who brought the idea to the Trump plan and American consensus,’ he said later on Army Radio. ‘We will apply sovereignty with American consent.’ Among some in the settlements, these assurances rang hollow.”

Belarus’s Alexander Lukashenko said he’d rather be killed than agree to new elections. 

“Lukashenko walked off the stage Monday at a tractor plant in Minsk, Belarus, to workers chanting loudly for him to step down, as he struggles to contain mass anger in the wake of an election widely seen as fraudulent,” Robyn Dixon reports. “‘You are talking about unfair elections and want to have fair elections?’ he asked the crowd of workers at the Minsk Wheeled Tractor Plant, who shouted ‘Yes’ in response. ‘I am answering your question. We held elections. Until you kill me, there will be no other elections.’ The president said he would never yield to public pressure but conceded that he would be willing to share power under a new constitution.”

  • Canada’s embattled finance minister resigned from Justin Trudeau’s cabinet and Parliament amid an ethics controversy involving a charity with ties to him and the prime minister. (Amanda Coletta)

Social media speed read

People had fun with Bernie Sanders’s background, which included chopped wood and Vermont's flag:

A backdrop during a recent interview featured a heavily wooded forest:

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) criticized Democrats for having Eva Longoria Bastón emcee the program. He appeared to forget that his party’s standard-bearer was a reality television star – and that his speech at the 2012 Republican convention immediately followed Clint Eastwood's monologue to the chair:

Some of Biden's opponents for the Democratic nomination were not included in a unity video:

The Trump campaign is selling masks:

Videos of the day

Sanders's wife tried to give the senator some advice before he went live, and he was having none of it:

Seth Meyers accused Trump of trying to destroy the Postal Service:

Stephen Colbert said in a live show after the convention that the night brought him hope because it brought him back to where he was four years ago – “in a room with other people”: