The 2020 Democratic National Convention came to a close Thursday night, with Joe Biden and Kamala Harris formally accepting their party’s nominations.
Upended by the coronavirus pandemic, the convention played out unlike any before, with most speakers’ remarks pre-recorded and none of the usual fanfare and crowds that have marked previous conventions.
Here are some of the DNC’s best, worst — and downright bizarre — moments.
Michelle Obama’s address
The former first lady resuscitated a listless opening night of the convention with an impassioned vote of confidence for Biden, who served two terms as vice president under her husband, Barack Obama.
“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 in a pre-recorded speech.
Wearing a gold “V-O-T-E” necklace, Obama said America has been “living with the consequences” of the 2016 election because “too many people chose to believe that their votes didn’t matter.”
Obama conceded that her message wouldn’t be well-received by some, because “we live in a nation that is deeply divided.”
President Trump panned the speech the next morning on Twitter, writing, “Somebody please explain to @MichelleObama that Donald J. Trump would not be here, in the beautiful White House, if it weren’t for the job done by your husband, Barack Obama.”
Cindy McCain’s Biden tribute
The widow of 2008 GOP presidential nominee John McCain was one of several Republicans to boost Biden, a bipartisan gesture that could prove crucial as Democrats look to lasso votes from across the aisle.
In a moving video tribute, McCain detailed the cross-party camaraderie between her late, war hero husband and the Democratic presidential aspirant.
“It was a style of legislating and leadership that you don’t find much anymore,” said McCain of Biden’s willingness to negotiate across party lines in Congress.
Gabby Giffords on resiliency
The former Arizona congresswoman, who survived a gunshot to the head from a would-be assassin in 2011, touted Biden as the candidate to solve America’s firearms problem in an emotional segment on Wednesday night.
“I put one foot in front of the other. I found one word and then I found another,” said Giffords in stirring pre-taped remarks. “Words once came easily to me. Today I struggle to speak. But I have not lost my voice.
“We are at a crossroads,” she continued, urging Americans to use their voices too. “We can let the shooting continue, or we can act. … We must elect Joe Biden.”
With delegates unable to convene for a traditional roll call due to the pandemic, many made their voices heard in a series of pre-taped videos at landmarks of their respective states.
Rhode Island State Rep. Joseph McNamara, for example, cast the state’s votes to officially nominate Biden as the party’s presidential pick while standing next to a giant plate of fried calamari from local staple Iggy’s Boardwalk.
“Rhode Island, the ocean state, where our restaurant and fishing industry have been decimated by this pandemic, are lucky to have a governor, Gina Raimondo, whose program lets our fishermen sell their catches directly to the public and our state appetizer, calamari, is available in all 50 states,” said McNamara in his opening line.
Fly vs. Bloomberg
Former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg was one of many 2020 presidential candidates to make an appearance Thursday night but it was a pesky fly that got all the attention. Twitter was abuzz over the insect, which kept landing on the billionaire’s face as he ripped Trump’s business acumen — earning at least one person’s vote.
Billie Eilish takes center stage
The 18-year-old Grammy winner injected some sorely-needed youthful exuberance into the festivities on Wednesday, making a case for a candidate more than four times her age, and debuting her new song, “My Future.”
“Silence is not an option, and we cannot sit this one out,” she said before the performance.
“The only way to be certain of the future is to make it ourselves.”
Hillary Clinton’s self-deprecating humor
Clinton, who snatched defeat from the jaws of victory as the Democratic candidate against Trump in 2016, was able to poke fun at the upset in warning Biden boosters not to make the same mistake in November.
“For four years, people have said to me, ‘I didn’t realize how dangerous he [Trump] was.’ ‘I wish I could go back and do it over.’ Or worse, ‘I should have voted,’” Clinton said in pre-taped remarks from her New York home. “Well, this can’t be another ‘woulda coulda shoulda’ election.”
Clinton, who captured the popular vote in 2016 but still lost because Trump eked out wins in key battleground states, cautioned Democratic voters that history can repeat itself unless they pack the polls — whether physically or by casting mail-in ballots.
“Don’t forget, Joe and Kamala can win by three million votes and still lose,” she said. “Take it from me.”
Obama vs. Trump in real-time
Two days after his wife starred in the DNC’s opening night, Barack Obama stood out with a blistering rebuke of Trump, a rarity between a former president and his White House successor.
“I have sat in the Oval Office with both of the men who are running for president,” said Obama in an electric address. “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. But he never did.”
Trump fired back mid-speech with a pair of all-caps tweets.
“He spied on my campaign, and got caught!” he wrote. “Why did he refuse to endorse slow Joe until it was all over, and even then was very late? Why did he try to get him not to run??”
The stutter club
The 13-year-old Brayden Harrington shared a touching story about how Biden helped him overcome his greatest insecurity — his stutter.
“He told me we were members of the same club — we stutter,” the teen said about meeting Biden — who has opened up in the past about his own speech impediment — earlier this year.
“It was really amazing to hear that someone like me became vice president.”
Biden gave him tips like reading a book of poems by William Butler Yeats and marking up his speeches to make them easier to say out loud.
“So I did the same thing today,” Brayden said, proudly flashing a paper with his remarks to the camera.
Perhaps the best thing about the 2020 DNC was what didn’t happen.
Also-also-also-ran Mayor Bill de Blasio, was among the one-time candidates from the overstuffed Democratic field omitted from a campaign montage that aired Monday night and a “Survivor” recap-like panel of former candidates that even included Beto O’Rourke.
Hizzoner, who clearly was not invited, said shortly before the convention kicked off that he was unaware it was this week.
Biden’s address fumble
When Biden garnered enough support to be officially named the party’s nominee on Tuesday night, the occasion was greeted not by roaring applause echoing through a cavernous convention center, but party poppers in what looked to be a school library.
The man aspiring to be the next president of the United States looked like a deer in headlights as he stumbled his way through a lackluster acceptance speech.
“Well, thank you very, very much,” he said. “From the bottom of my heart, thank you all.”
“Veep” star Julia Louis-Dreyfus emceed the final night of the DNC but her satire was more cringe-worthy than award-winning — made worse by the lack of audience to react.
The Emmy winner fell flat with cracks about Pence’s “weird foreign” last name and Trump’s golf game.
“Text Vote to 30330 — 30330, that would be the president’s golf score if he didn’t cheat,” she deadpanned. “OK, look, I’ll admit that was a little nasty but we all know he’s a cheater. And I’m proud to be a nasty, nasty woman.”
Kamala’s by-the-book debut
Despite the historic nature of her nomination as vice president — she’s just the third woman tapped by a major party, and the first of both black and Asian heritage — Harris underwhelmed with a greatest-hits acceptance speech on Wednesday night.
Wearing a Hillary Clinton-esque burgundy pantsuit and pearl necklace, Harris vowed to “act boldly” and “deal with our challenges honestly.
“In this election, we have a chance to change the course of history,” she said, in what could have served as an acceptance speech at any challenging party’s convention, Democrat or Republican. “We’re all in this fight. You, me, and Joe — together.”
How left will Biden go?
In another bid to reel in Republican voters, former GOP presidential candidate John Kasich — standing at a literal crossroads — said Monday night that Biden is “respectful” and won’t “turn sharp left.”
But just minutes later, self-described socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) sought to reassure his skeptical supporters than Biden was coming around to his far-left ideals.
“Many of the ideas we fought for, but just a few years ago were considered radical are now mainstream,” Sanders said.
Soldiers’ roll-call cameo
Two uniformed soldiers appeared alongside delegates from American Samoa during roll call in Wednesday night’s installment, prompting the Army to launch an investigation.
The Pentagon strictly forbids uniformed personnel from appearing at partisan engagements in an effort to keep the military as politically agnostic as possible.
“Wearing a uniform to a partisan political event like this is prohibited,” Lt. Col. Emanuel Ortiz told The Post in confirming the investigation. “The Army follows the Department of Defense’s longstanding and well-defined policy regarding political campaigns and elections to avoid the perception of DoD sponsorship, approval or endorsement of any political candidate, campaign or cause.”
Former “Desperate Housewives” star Eva Longoria served as emcee for the event’s opening night, leading a parade of extraneous celebrities and montages.
Soccer star Megan Rapinoe and “Hawaii Five-0″ actor Daniel Dae Kim were among the participants in a video montage reciting the preamble to the Constitution.
It was shortly followed by a saccharine compilation video of children from all 50 states singing the National Anthem, in turn giving way to a Bruce Springsteen-scored montage used to transition between speakers.
Firebrand New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez used her 96-second segment Tuesday night to nominate fellow self-described socialist Sanders — without once mentioning actual party nominee Biden.
“I hereby second the nomination for Sen. Bernard Sanders of Vermont for president of the United States of America,” the Bronx-Queens lawmaker capped her brief but hyped remarks.
The move was just a procedural formality, but it still left some scratching their heads, leading AOC to take to Twitter shortly thereafter to clarify that she indeed endorsed Biden against Trump.
For what it’s worth
Because most cable networks had already pulled their coverage, they were spared the bizarre performance of classic folk-rock protest song “For What It’s Worth” that capped Monday’s opening night.
But those still tuned in saw “Pose” star Billy Porter and Buffalo Springfield member Stephen Stills team up for a rendition of the song, which played out over an oddball music video featuring images of Black Lives Matter protests and kneeling athletes.
“This is the corniest bulls–t I’ve ever seen in my life,” summed up one Twitter user.
Additional reporting by Lia Eustachewich
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