Dems Unified in Bashing Donald Trump

Obama celebrates his record, calls Clinton a ‘patriot,’ skewers Trump

Barack Obama,Hillary Clinton
President Barack Obama hugs Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton / AP
July 28, 2016

President Obama and other Democrats unified to slam Donald Trump at the Democratic National Convention on Wednesday, after two days of Bernie Sanders supporters expressing discontent over Hillary Clinton’s nomination.

Obama touted his own record in a keynote address and did not mention Clinton until several minutes into the speech, describing her as an experienced government official with the temperament and tenacity to assume the presidency. He then moved to criticizing Trump, accusing him of fanning a "deeply pessimistic vision" of America.

"He’s betting that if he scares enough people, he might score just enough votes to win this election," Obama told the crowd. "And that’s another bet that Donald Trump will lose."

Obama, who fought a contentious battle against Clinton in the 2008 primary, championed Clinton as a mother, grandmother, and a "patriot." Clinton surprised the crowd by walking onto the stage, embracing Obama following his remarks.

The primetime speakers on Wednesday all trashed Trump, with Vice President Joe Biden saying the Republican nominee "doesn’t have a clue about the middle class."

Michael Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York City and a self-described independent, faulted Democrats for too often blaming the private sector for the nation’s problems and standing "in the way of education [reform] and deficit reduction." He went on to urge voters to support Clinton over Trump "no matter what you think of her or her record."

Democrats were scrutinized by some for not giving adequate mention to terrorism and national security during the first two days of the convention. A handful of military members and leaders spoke Wednesday night, though they mostly focused on criticizing Trump’s foreign policy positions rather than specifying Clinton’s proposals for ensuring national security.

The speakers, including Retired Rear Admiral John Hutson and former CIA director and secretary of defense Leon Panetta, cast Trump as unfit to combat terrorism and other global challenges. The two were repeatedly heckled by shouts of "No more wars! No more wars!"

"Donald Trump calls himself the law-and-order candidate, but he will violate international law," said Hutson, the former judge advocate general of the Navy. "Donald Trump would abandon our allies and let more countries get nuclear weapons. He lies about his donations to veterans and calls our military—which I served in—a disaster."

"He even mocks our POWs, like John McCain," Hutson continued. "Donald, you’re not fit to polish John McCain’s boots."

Panetta, who said Obama created a "vacuum" for ISIS after he departed the administration, skewered Trump for calling on Russia to "find the 30,000 emails" that Clinton deleted from her personal email server before turning her messages over to the government. United States officials suspect that Russia orchestrated the cyber attack on the Democratic National Committee computer network, which produced chaos during the first few days of the convention.

"It is inconceivable to me that any presidential candidate would be that irresponsible," Panetta said, describing Trump as "unstable."

The Trump campaign responded to Panetta’s criticism in a statement later Wednesday.

"It is alarming that Leon Panetta would, through his silence, excuse Hillary Clinton’s enablement of foreign espionage with her illegal email scheme and her corrupt decision to then destroy those emails and dissemble her ‘private’ server to hide her crimes from the public and authorities," said Stephen Miller, Trump’s senior policy adviser.

Sen. Tim Kaine (D., Va.) also delivered remarks on Wednesday night, after he was officially declared the Democratic vice presidential nominee.

Sanders supporters expressed outrage at Clinton’s choice of Kaine as her running mate earlier Wednesday, preparing to stage a scene on the convention floor during his primetime address. Protests did not fully materialize on the floor of the arena in Philadelphia.

"It’s a form of Hillary Clinton saying to the Bernie Sanders constituency, ‘Screw you,’ because we think we have enough of you," Norman Solomon, the leader of the Bernie Delegates Network, told Politico on Wednesday of Kaine’s nomination.

Kaine sporadically spoke in Spanish and tried to appeal to Sanders supporters by celebrating the Vermont senator’s record as audience members began shouting "Bernie! Bernie!"

"We should all ‘feel the Bern,’ and we all should not want to get burned by the other guy," Kaine said.

Kaine said voters cannot trust Donald Trump, despite Clinton’s own challenges convincing Americans to trust her following the controversy concerning her use of private email in the State Department.

Wednesday’s earlier proceedings focused heavily on gun control, featuring remarks from a family member of a victim of the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, survivors of the Charleston church shooting one year ago, and politicians who have advocated for gun restrictions, including Sen. Chris Murphy (D., Conn.) and former congresswoman Gabby Giffords.

Clinton was formally declared the Democratic nominee on Tuesday, and will accept her nomination on Thursday, the final night of the convention.