Hillary Clinton hit hard against Donald Trump in her historic acceptance speech as the first woman to be nominated for president by a major U.S. party.
“He wants to divide us — from the rest of the world and from each other,” the Democratic nominee said of her Republican opponent in her speech closing the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia Thursday night. “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.’”
She also reached out to supporters of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, her rival for the Democratic nomination, telling them, “Your cause is our cause.” And she thanked Sanders as well, saying, “Bernie, your campaign inspired millions of Americans, particularly the young people who threw their hearts and souls into our primary. You’ve put economic and social justice issues front and center, where they belong.”
Speaking for a little over 40 minutes, the former secretary of state, New York senator, and first lady blasted Trump on not only on his gloomy vision of America, but his lack of specific policy proposals and his temperament.
After listing her priorities for her presidency, such as immigration reform, developing clean energy, equal pay for women, protecting reproductive choice, and revitalizing the economy, she said, “Now, you didn’t hear any of this from Donald Trump at his convention. He spoke for 70-odd minutes — and I do mean odd. And he offered zero solutions.”
She countered Trump’s claim that he knows more about the terrorist group ISIS than U.S. generals do, saying, “No, Donald, you don’t.” And she asserted that he doesn’t have the temperament to be president: In the applause line of the night, she said, “A man you can bait with a tweet is not a man we can trust with nuclear weapons.”
Clinton further objected to Trump’s assertion that he alone can fix what’s wrong with the nation, noting that Americans solve problems together and invoking the phrase “it takes a village,” which is the title of a book she wrote. “None of us can raise a family, build a business, heal a community or lift a country totally alone,” she said.
Almost all the speakers at the convention gave a shout-out to LGBT causes. Clinton’s reference tonight was brief, but she promised, “We will defend all our rights — civil rights, human rights, and voting rights, women’s rights and workers’ rights, LGBT rights and the rights of people with disabilities. And we will stand up against mean and divisive rhetoric wherever it comes from.”
Clinton was introduced by her daughter, Chelsea, who said her mother is someone “who knows women’s rights are human rights, and who knows that LGBT rights are human rights — here at home and around the world.”
Many of Thursday’s speakers made the case that the Democratic Party is diverse and inclusive. Khizr Khan, a Muslim who immigrated to the U.S. from the United Arab Emirates, talked about his son Humayun, an American soldier who was killed by a car bomb in Iraq. Khan called on Americans to reject Trump’s anti-Muslim rhetoric and “vote for the healer, Hillary Clinton.” He also offered Trump his copy of the Constitution.
Doug Elmets, a lifelong Republican who was an aide to President Reagan, said he’ll vote for Clinton this year. He denounced the Republican platform as anti-immigrant, antigay, and antiwomen.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo spoke of his father, Mario, who served in the same office and gave an electrifying keynote speech at the Democratic convention in 1984, distilling Democratic values, according to his son. Andrew Cuomo also noted that New York adopted marriage equality not because the Supreme Court said it had to but because it was the right thing to do. New York passed a marriage equality law in 2011, four years before the Supreme Court ruling that legalized same-sex marriage nationwide.
Again, there were several LGBT speakers. Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, the first openly LGBT U.S. senator, appeared with other women senators and discussed her support for expanding access to health insurance. Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez, a lesbian, introduced families of fallen police officers. Earlier in the day, Human Rights Campaign president Chad Griffin spoke, as did the HRC’s national press secretary, Sarah McBride, who became the first openly transgender person to address a national political convention of either major party.
There was also significant celebrity representation: actors (and spouses) Mary Steenburgen and Ted Danson; basketball legend, author, and activist Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who introduced himself as Michael Jordan because, he said, Trump doesn’t know the difference; and musicians Sheila E., Carole King (singing “You’ve Got a Friend”), and Katy Perry, who sung Clinton off with “Roar.”
But above all else, it was Clinton’s night. “Tonight, we’ve reached a milestone in our nation’s march toward a more perfect union: the first time that a major party has nominated a woman for president,” she said. “Standing here as my mother’s daughter and my daughter’s mother, I’m so happy this day has come. Happy for grandmothers and little girls and everyone in between. Happy for boys and men too — because when any barrier falls in America, for anyone, it clears the way for everyone. When there are no ceilings, the sky’s the limit.”