LIVE: Ex-US presidents to speak on Day 2 of Democratic convention

Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter as well as Jill Biden, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez feature on second day of ‘virtual’ event.

  • US Democrats are opening the second night of their convention with voices from across the party’s politic divide. Moderates Sally Yates and progressive star Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez will make their appearances.
  • Response to the first night was positive from many Democratic loyalists, but some criticised its lack of policy proposals and time given to prominent Republicans supporting Biden.
  • Two former US presidents, Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, will speak tonight. Carter, an elderly one-term president, is widely respected. Clinton is remembered fondly by many, though his association with convicted paedophile Jeffery Epstein has caused some controversy, though no allegations of impropriety have been levelled against Clinton.
  • Jill Biden, wife of presumptive nominee and former Vice President Joe Biden, will deliver the final speech and talk about their family’s struggles.

Here are the latest updates:

Tuesday, August 18 

23:31 GMT – Colin Powell, state secretary under Bush, to endorse Biden

Former Secretary of State Colin Powell, a four-star general who served in the position under former President George W Bush, is expected to endorse Biden for president tonight. 

Powell’s endorsement was first reported by MSNBC. He is the latest in a growing group of prominent Republicans to endorse Biden. 

Here’s a preview Secretary Colin Powell’s speech for tonight’s DNC. #TheReidOut pic.twitter.com/ObF9VqAv1s

While welcomed by many, the newest endorsement – and time alloted to Powell to do so – will likely upset members of the progressive wing of the party. One of its rising stars, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, will receive one minute for a pre-recorded statement tonight. 

Some commentators, including Rebecca Traister, have equated the prominence given to Republicans during the DNC to “self-sabotage.” 

The “relegation of Ocasio-Cortez, who electrifies multiple parts of a Democratic base, to one meager minute, a segment that … isn’t just a snub”, Traister wrote in The Cut. “The failure of a major political party to showcase one of its most talented politicians, a young person whose communicative reach and facility positions her to be among its leaders deep into our future, is self-sabotage.

23:05 GMT – Cindy McCain, wife of late Republican Senator John McCain, set to speak

Cindy McCain will lend her voice to a video set to air during Tuesday night’s Democratic National Convention programming focused on Biden’s close friendship with her late husband, Republican Senator John McCain of Arizona, though it isn’t expected to be an outright endorsement.

In an advance clip from the video shared with The Associated Press, Cindy McCain talks about how Biden, then a Delaware senator, met her husband when John McCain was assigned to be a military aide for him on a trip overseas. The two became friends, and the families would gather for picnics in the Bidens’ backyard.

A portrait of how much Donald Trump turned the GOP establishment upside down — Cindy McCain is speaking at the DNC about her late husband’s relationship with Biden, and neither the last Republican president (GWB) nor the last Republican nominee (Romney) are speaking at the RNC

McCain is the latest Republican to join in the convention, after a number of notable GOP former elected officials – including former Ohio Governor John Kasich – endorsed the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee on Monday night.

It’s a continuation of a major theme that Democrats have pushed through the first night of the convention -an effort to broaden the party’s appeal to occasional Republicans and disaffected Trump voters. 

22:02 GMT – Jill Biden to get personal about family’s struggles

Jill Biden will offer a personal glimpse into her family’s struggles and vouch for her husband’s ability to lead the nation through adversity during her opening remarks at the Democratic National Convention.

“There are times when I couldn’t imagine how he did it – how he put one foot in front of the other and kept going. But I’ve always understood why he did it. … He does it for you,” she’ll say in her speech, according to advance remarks.

Ready to hear from the next first lady of the United States, @DrBiden, on night two of the #DemConvention?

Tap ❤️ or 🔁 below to get a reminder when she’s LIVE! pic.twitter.com/s5HYCd1h7J

During their decades in public life, Jill and Joe Biden have faced considerable personal loss. Shortly after getting elected as a senator in 1972, Biden’s first wife and infant daughter were killed in a crash, leaving him to raise his two sons alone.

Biden married Jill about four years later, but the two faced tragedy together when Biden’s son Beau died of brain cancer in 2015.

Both speak openly on the campaign trail about the challenges they’ve experienced, and Jill Biden will speak about what it takes to “make a broken family whole”.

“The same way you make a nation whole. With love and understanding – and with small acts of compassion.”

21:44 GMT – Stock market surges to record high in boon for Trump

The S&P 500 index closed at an all-time high on Tuesday, completing its recovery from the stock market crash after the onset of the coronavirus crisis, which has killed more than 170,000 in the US, in February.

The index ended at 3,389.78 points, above the previous record close of 3,386.15 on February 19.

The record confirms, according to a widely accepted definition, that Wall Street’s most closely followed index entered a bull market after hitting its pandemic low on March 23.

The news should be welcome for Trump, who is trailing Biden in most national polls but has campaigned on the strength of the economy prior to the coronavirus crisis.

21:20 GMT – Embattled postmaster general pauses controversial changes to mail delivery 

US Postmaster General Louis DeJoy on Tuesday suspended all mail service changes until after the November election after an outcry by Democrats about concerns the changes were an attempt to bolster President Donald Trump’s chances in the November polls.

“To avoid even the appearance of any impact on election mail, I am suspending these initiatives until after the election is concluded,” DeJoy, a Trump ally and consistent donor to the Republican Party, said in a statement.

The reversal follows complaints that the cuts could slow the handling of mail-in ballots, which could account for as many as half of all votes cast in November’s election as the coronavirus pandemic raises fears of crowds.

 20:50 GMT – Trump responds to Obama’s criticism 

Trump, the object of much ire during the first night of the Democratic National Convention, responded to the stinging attack from former First Lady Michelle Obama delivered on the first night. 

Obama said Trump was “in over his head … it is what it is” in an apparent reference to Trump’s own comments on the US death toll due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Somebody please explain to Michelle Obama 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,” the president tweeted on Tuesday, calling Biden an “afterthought”.

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. Biden was merely an afterthought, a good reason for that very late & unenthusiastic endorsement…..

“Biden was merely an afterthought”, Trump, a frequent and continued critic of the Obama administration, said. 

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