Hillary Clinton Nominated Amid Protests From Sanders Supporters

Bill Clinton speech attempts to humanize his wife

Hillary Clinton
Hillary Clinton / AP
July 26, 2016

Hillary Clinton was formally declared the Democratic presidential nominee on Tuesday evening, amid protests from supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) and efforts of party leaders to unify Democrats behind the former secretary of state.

Former president Bill Clinton delivered a speech chronicling his first meeting with Hillary through her time working at the State Department, offering a personal perspective of his wife and highlights of her political resume in Tuesday night’s keynote address at the Democratic National Convention.

"She is still the best darn change-maker I have ever known," Clinton said of his wife on the second night of the DNC in Philadelphia. "You can drop her into any trouble spot—pick one—come back in a month, and somehow, some way, she will have made it better."

Sanders put Hillary Clinton over the top in a roll-call vote on Tuesday when he joined with the Vermont delegation to declare that all votes be moved to nominate the Clinton for president. Clinton became the first woman to be nominated for president by a major party.

Hillary Clinton briefly addressed convention-goers via satellite from her home in Chappaqua, N.Y., following her husband’s remarks. "I can’t believe we just put the biggest crack in this glass ceiling yet," she said.

But the nomination was followed by chaos, with some Sanders delegates staging a walkout. Sanders activists also demonstrated outside the convention, clashing with police.

"The DNC has been operating on behalf of the Clinton campaign," an Arizona delegate backing Sanders told the Washington Examiner during an organized sit-in at a press area following Clinton’s nomination. "They did not remain unbiased as is their job and they didn’t hear our voices. Hillary Clinton cannot beat Donald Trump. We are angry. We want to defeat Donald Trump and she is not the candidate to do it."

The convention kicked off on Monday amid controversy, following a leak of emails showing Democratic National Committee staffers favoring Clinton during the 2016 presidential primary process. The scandal prompted the resignation of DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who came under fire from protesters on Monday and was forced to relinquish any major role in the convention.

Party leaders apologized on Monday for the revelations in the emails released by WikiLeaks.

Sanders and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) sought to make the populist case for a Clinton presidency during primetime remarks on Monday, though their embrace of the former secretary of state angered some supporters on the convention floor. Members of the crowd heckled Warren during her speech, shouting "We trusted you!" Warren was seen in the crowd Tuesday night, sitting next to Chelsea Clinton and her husband, hedge fund manager Marc Mezvinsky.

Some have speculated that angry Sanders supporters might turn to Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump in the general election. Trump has repeatedly tried to court Sanders backers, though the Vermont senator has urged his supporters to vote for Clinton.

Vice President Joe Biden cast off those concerns in a conversation with reporters on Tuesday, according to Politico.

"They’re going to be fine. Look, they worked hard. We got to show a little class and let them be frustrated for a while. It’s OK," Biden said in Philadelphia, adding that Sanders supporters protesting at the convention are "all going to end up voting for Hillary."

A Bloomberg Politics poll released last month after Clinton clinched the nomination found that nearly half of Sanders supporters do not plan to vote for Clinton. Twenty-two percent plan to vote for Trump, the poll found, while 18 percent favor libertarian Gary Johnson.

Tuesday’s primetime program featured remarks by a number of celebrities, including actresses Lena Dunham and Meryl Streep, as well as former attorney general Eric Holder, Planned Parenthood Action Fund president Cecile Richards, and mothers of African Americans who have died at the hands of police.

Family members of slain police officers were not featured.

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a Clinton ally who is currently under investigation by the FBI, also addressed the crowd, later telling Politico that he expects Clinton to support the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal after some fixes.

Clinton long pushed for TPP during her time as secretary of state before coming out against it under pressure last year. John Podesta, her campaign chairman, pushed back on McAuliffe’s suggestion, calling it "flat wrong" on Twitter. A spokesman for McAuliffe later said that Clinton never told him she would shift her position on the trade deal.

Tuesday’s speakers focused on race, crime, and criticizing Donald Trump. Bill Clinton took aim at Trump during his remarks, without mentioning the candidate by name. "How does this square with what you heard at the Republican convention?" Clinton asked the crowd after describing his wife’s accomplishments. "One is real, the other is made up."

The first two days of the Democratic convention have included little mention of homeland security or terrorism, prompting criticism from Republicans.