Hillary Clinton delivered a carefully scripted message to the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia on Thursday night that included progressive policy proposals to placate the restive Sanders supporters in the crowd and shots at Donald Trump intended to lure in the undecideds.
As protesters were blocked from entering the Wells Fargo Center outside, the setting inside was a sea of American flags in the audience and Clinton in a white pantsuit with an American flag backdrop. She was introduced by Chelsea Clinton, wearing a red dress. And former President Bill Clinton wore a blue suit with a white shirt and red tie.
Some supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) within the arena wore neon green shirts to identify themselves as protesters of Clinton’s nomination, and they held signs against the TPP and altered signs handed out to the delegates — “stronger together,” for example, had letters scratched out and added to read “stop her,” and another wrote “liar” on the back of a “Hillary” sign.
After hat tips to President Obama and her running mate, Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Clinton thanked Sanders, who sat expressionless with his wife, Jane.
“Bernie, your campaign inspired millions of Americans, particularly the young people who threw their hearts and souls into our primary. You put economic and social justice issues front and center, where they belong,” she said.
“And to all of your supporters here and around the country, I want you to know I have heard you. Your cause is our cause. Our country needs your ideas, energy, and passion. That is the only way we can turn our progressive platform into real change for America. We wrote it together. Now let’s go out and make it happen together.”
Some of those supporters didn’t want Clinton to be heard, though, shouting during her speech. They were drowned out by crowd chants of “Hillary” or “USA.”
Those protesters were especially on fire earlier in the evening, shouting “no more war” as retired Gen. John Allen, former commander of coalition forces in Afghanistan, delivered a foreign policy address accompanied onstage by a large group of veterans. Protesters also interrupted a separate address by Medal of Honor recipient Florent Groberg, who was severely injured when he tackled a suicide bomber in Afghanistan in 2012.
Sanders tweeted: “I congratulate
@HillaryClinton on this historic achievement. We are stronger together.”
Clinton told the DNC that America is “at a moment of reckoning.”
“Powerful forces are threatening to pull us apart. Bonds of trust and respect are fraying. And just as with our Founders, there are no guarantees. It truly is up to us. We have to decide whether we will all work together so we can all rise together,” she said.
“Well, we heard Donald Trump’s answer last week at his convention. He wants to divide us from the rest of the world and from each other. He’s betting that the perils of today’s world will blind us to its unlimited promise. He’s taken the Republican Party a long way from ‘Morning in America’ to ‘Midnight in America.’ He wants us to fear the future and fear each other.”
Clinton stressed “we are clear-eyed about what our country is up against, but we are not afraid.”
“We will rise to the challenge, just as we always have. We will not build a wall. Instead, we will build an economy where everyone who wants a good job can get one. And we’ll build a path to citizenship for millions of immigrants who are already contributing to our economy,” she said. “We will not ban a religion. We will work with all Americans and our allies to fight and defeat terrorism.”
She acknowledged “there’s too much inequality, too little social mobility, too much paralysis in Washington, too many threats at home and abroad.”
“But just look for a minute at the strengths we bring as Americans to meet these challenges. We have the most dynamic and diverse people in the world. We have the most tolerant and generous young people we’ve ever had. We have the most powerful military, the most innovative entrepreneurs, the most enduring values – freedom and equality, justice and opportunity. We should be so proud that those words are associated with us. I have to tell you, as your secretary of State, I went to 112 countries. When people hear those words, they hear America,” Clinton continued.
“So don’t let anyone tell you that our country is weak. We’re not. Don’t let anyone tell you we don’t have what it takes. We do. And most of all, don’t believe anyone who says, ‘I alone can fix it.’ Yes. Those were actually Donald Trump’s words in Cleveland. And they should set off alarm bells for all of us. Really? ‘I alone can fix it?’ Isn’t he forgetting troops on the front lines, police officers and firefighters who run toward danger, doctors and nurses who care for us? Teachers who change lives, entrepreneurs who see possibilities in every problem, mothers who lost children to violence and are building a movement to keep other kids safe? He’s forgetting every last one of us. Americans don’t say, ‘I alone fix can it.’ We say, ‘We’ll fix it together.’”
Clinton added that “our Founders fought a revolution and wrote a Constitution so America would never be a nation where one person had all the power.”
Speakers at the DNC notably didn’t slam the GOP as a whole, but kept their criticism to Trump. “You heard from Republicans and independents who are supporting our campaign. Well, I will be a president for Democrats, Republicans, independents, for the struggling, the striving, the successful, for all those who vote for me and for those who don’t,” Clinton said. “For all Americans together.”
After stating her beliefs about Citizens United, climate change and immigration reform, she stressed that “whatever party you belong to, or if you belong to no party at all, if you share these beliefs, this is your campaign.” Another speaker during the evening slammed Trump for “smearing” Republican leaders.
Clinton mentioned that Trump spoke “for 70-odd minutes – and I do mean odd” in his convention acceptance speech, yet “offered zero solutions.”
“…Now Donald Trump says, and this is a quote, ‘I know more about ISIS than the generals do.’ No, Donald, you don’t.”
Clinton questioned whether Trump “has the temperament to be commander in chief.”
“Donald Trump can’t even handle the rough-and-tumble of a presidential campaign. He loses his cool at the slightest provocation – when he’s gotten a tough question from a reporter, when he’s challenged in a debate, when he sees a protester at a rally,” she said. “Imagine, if you dare imagine, imagine him in the Oval Office facing a real crisis. A man you can bait with a tweet is not a man we can trust with nuclear weapons.”
On Twitter, Trump accused Hillary of seeking “a borderless world where working people have no power, no jobs, no safety.”
“No one has worse judgement than Hillary Clinton – corruption and devastation follows her wherever she goes,” Trump tweeted.
Clinton also said, “I’m not here to repeal the Second Amendment. I’m not here to take away your guns. I just don’t want you to be shot by someone who shouldn’t have a gun in the first place.”
“You heard, you saw, family members of people killed by gun violence on this stage. You heard, you saw family members of police officers killed in the line of duty because they were outgunned by criminals. I refuse to believe we can’t find common ground here,” Clinton said. “We have to heal the divides in our country, not just on guns but on race, immigration, and more.”
Earlier in the week, the Mothers of the Movement took the stage at the DNC. Among the speakers was Lucia McBath, mother of Jordan Davis, who was shot at a Florida gas station in 2012 by Michael Dunn after Dunn complained about the loud hip-hop music coming from the teen’s car. Dunn was convicted and sentenced to life in prison.
Also speaking for the group was Geneva Reed-Veal, mother of Sandra Bland, who was found hanging in a Texas holding cell last year. The authorities ruled Bland’s death a suicide, but the family is suing. Sybrina Fulton, mother of Trayvon Martin, shot by George Zimmerman in 2012, also spoke.
On Thursday night, Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez, also a Texas delegate at the convention, led a tribute to law enforcement officers. Family members spoke about Philadelphia Police Officer Moses Walker Jr., shot by robbers in 2012; Cleveland Police Officer Derek Owens, shot in 2008 during a foot pursuit of trespassers; and Chicago Police Officer Thor Soderburg, who was shot in 2015 by a career criminal who stole his gun.
“Let’s put ourselves in the shoes of young black and Latino men and women who face the effects of systemic racism and are made to feel like their lives are disposable,” Clinton said. “Let’s put ourselves in the shoes of police officers, kissing their kids and spouses goodbye every day and heading off to do a dangerous and necessary job.”
Clinton admitted she didn’t take Trump seriously at first because “it was just too hard to fathom, that someone who wants to lead our nation could say those things, could be like that.”
“But here’s the sad truth: There is no other Donald Trump. This is it. And in the end, it comes down to what Donald Trump doesn’t get: America is great because America is good.”
Trump’s senior policy advisor Stephen Miller, a former aide to Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), said in a statement issued by the campaign that Clinton’s address “was an insulting collection of clichés and recycled rhetoric.”
“Hillary Clinton talks about unity, about E Pluribus Unum, but her globalist agenda denies American citizens the protections to which they are all entitled – tearing us apart. Her radical amnesty plan will take jobs, resources and benefits from the most vulnerable citizens of the United States and give them to the citizens of other countries. Her refusal to even say the words ‘Radical Islam’, or to mention her disaster in Libya, or her corrupt email scheme, all show how little she cares about the safety of the American people,” Miller said. “It’s a speech delivered from a fantasy universe, not the reality we live in today.”