Watch the highlights from all 4 nights of the virtual 2020 Democratic National Convention

Watch the highlights from all 4 nights of the virtual 2020 Democratic National Convention
Win McNamee/Getty Images
  • The Democratic National Convention took an unprecedented virtual approach because of the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Former Vice President Joe Biden formally accepted the Democratic party's nomination for president on Thursday, the final night of the four-night event.
  • Biden's running mate Sen. Kamala Harris made history as the first woman of color to accept a major party nomination on Wednesday after she accepted the Democratic party nomination for vice president.
  • In addition to party heavyweights like the Obamas speaking in support of Biden, the convention also lifted the voices of voters concerned about healthcare, climate change, the pandemic, the economy, and immigration.
  • Several prominent Republicans also pledged their support to Biden in a rebuke to President Donald Trump.

Night 1: Speakers included Michelle Obama, Bernie Sanders, Gretchen Whitmer, Andrew Cuomo, John Kasich, the brothers of George Floyd, and a woman whose father died of COVID-19

Watch the highlights from all 4 nights of the virtual 2020 Democratic National Convention
Former first lady Michelle Obama speaks in a frame grab from the live video feed of the all virtual 2020 Democratic National Convention as participants from across the country are hosted over video links to the originally planned site of the convention in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, U.S. August 17, 2020.2020 Democratic National Convention/POOL via REUTERS

Former First Lady Michelle Obama closed the first night of the Democratic National Convention, with the longest speaking time slot of the night.

The former first lady spent her 19-minute speech emphasizing empathy amid the nationwide reckoning against racial injustice and highlighting the devastating impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the US.

"Sadly, this is the America that is on display for the next generation. A nation that's underperforming not simply on matters of policy but on matters of character," she said in the pre-recorded speech. "And that's not just disappointing; it's downright infuriating, because I know the goodness and the grace that is out there in households and neighborhoods all across this nation."

Obama echoed her famous catchphrase, "When they go low, we go high."

"And going high means unlocking the shackles of lies and mistrust with the only thing that can truly set us free: the cold hard truth," she said, before slamming President Donald Trump and encouraging people to go out and vote for Biden.


Democratic Govs. Gretchen Whitmer and Andrew Cuomo, who led their states through the devastating first wave of coronavirus pandemic, spoke during the DNC, condemning the disastrous US response and pinning fault on the Trump administration.

Kristin Urquiza, whose father died of COVID-19, said she blamed Trump for her father's death for downplaying the virus at the onset of the US outbreaks. She said her father's "only preexisting condition was trusting Donald Trump."

The DNC also hosted the brothers of George Floyd, a Black man who died in police custody in Minnesota after a white police officer knelt on his neck for several minutes.

Floyd's death sparked global protests against injustice and police brutality, calling for justice for other Black individuals who lost their lives by law enforcement and prompting a nationwide reckoning with systemic racism in the country.

Former GOP Gov. John Kasich of Ohio was one of several major Republicans to speak at the DNC to express support for Biden. An open critic of Trump and lifelong Republican, Kasich said "in normal times, something like this [his appearance at the DNC] would probably never happen."


"But these are not normal times," the former Ohio governor said. "I'm proud of my Republican heritage. It's the party of Lincoln, who reflected the principles of unity and a higher purpose, but what I have witnessed these past four years belies those principles."

Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, a former rival of Biden in the race for the Democratic nomination, spent his time slot lambasting Trump, accusing the president of leading the country down a "path of authoritarianism" which "destroys democracy, decency, and humanity."

"This is not normal and we must never treat it like it is," Sanders said. "Under this administration, authoritarianism has taken root in our country."

Night 2: Joe Biden was formally nominated as the Democratic presidential nominee; speakers included Jill Biden, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Cindy McCain, John Kerry, Colin Powell; and voters spoke about healthcare

Watch the highlights from all 4 nights of the virtual 2020 Democratic National Convention
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden appears on stage after Democratic vice presidential nominee U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) spoke on the third night of the Democratic National Convention from the Chase Center August 19, 2020 in Wilmington, Delaware. The convention, which was once expected to draw 50,000 people to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, is now taking place virtually due to the coronavirus pandemic. Harris is the first African-American, first Asian-American, and third female vice presidential candidate on a major party ticket.Win McNamee/Getty Images

On the second night of the DNC, Biden was formally nominated as the 2020 Democratic presidential candidate through an unprecedented virtual roll call vote.

"Thank you very very much from the bottom of my heart, thank you all," Biden said. "It means the world to me and my family."


Jill Biden delivered her emotional speech at the DNC in the school in Delaware where she taught while her husband served in the Senate.

She recounted the accident that killed her husband's first wife and baby daughter just weeks after he became a US Senator and paralleled her experience of healing a broken family with united a divided nation.

"How do you make a broken family whole? The same way you make a nation whole," she said. "With love and understanding and with small acts of kindness. With bravery. With unwavering faith."

Jacquelyn Brittany, a security guard at The New York Times building and the first person to nominate him for president, relayed her experience with Biden while taking him up to the paper's office in an elevator. That initial encounter went viral after Brittany said "I love you" to Biden.

"But in the short time I spent with Joe Biden, I could tell he really saw me, that he actually cared, that my life meant something to him," Brittany said. "And I knew, even when he went into his important meeting, he'd take my story in there with him."


"That's because Joe Biden has room in his heart for more than just himself," she added.

After Ady Barkan was diagnosed with ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), he became an advocate for making healthcare accessible and lobbied for healthcare policies to the federal government for the last few years. He gave a poignant speech detailing his fight with ALS while talking through a computer voice, as he lost his ability to speak through the development of the disease.

"Like so many of you, I have experienced the ways our healthcare system is fundamentally broken: enormous costs, denied claims, dehumanizing treatment when we are most in need," Barkan said.

"Today we are witnessing the tragic consequences of our failing healthcare system," he continued. "In the midst of a pandemic, nearly 100 million Americans do not have sufficient health insurance. And even good insurance does not cover essential needs like long-term care."

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, one of four progressive House Democrats known as "the Squad," had a minute-and-a-half to deliver remarks at the DNC. In her prepared remarks, Ocasio-Cortez listed a number of policies on the Democratic agenda, including guaranteed health care, higher education, living wages, and labor rights.


Her speech sparked some confusion when she formally nominated Sen. Bernie Sanders for president at the DNC.

"In a time when millions of people in the United States are looking for deep systemic solutions to our crises of mass evictions, unemployment, and lack of health care, and ​espíritu del pueblo​ and out of a love for all people, I hereby second the nomination of Senator Bernard Sanders of Vermont for president of the United States of America," she said.

The move, however, was purely symbolic and not exemplifying a divided party, as some perceived it to be. Ocasio-Cortez still endorsed Biden for president.

"If you were confused, no worries!" the New York congresswoman wrote in a tweet. "Convention rules require roll call & nominations for every candidate that passes the delegate threshold. I was asked to 2nd the nom for Sen. Sanders for roll call. I extend my deepest congratulations to @JoeBiden _ let's go win in November."

More Republicans loaded onto Trump on the second night, including Cindy McCain, wife of the late Sen. John McCain, and former Secretary of State Colin Powell, who served in the Bush administration. McCain narrated a video depicting her late husband's friendship with Biden when they both served in the Senate.


Powell said the US today is "a country divided and we have a president doing everything in his power to make it that way and keep us that way."

"I support Joe Biden because beginning on day one, he will restore America's leadership and our moral authority," the former secretary of state said. "He'll be a president who knows that America is strongest when, as he has said, we lead both by the power of our example and the example of our power."

Former Secretary of State John Kerry, who has been openly critical of Trump in the past, said the president "inherited a growing economy and peaceful world. Like everything else he inherited he bankrupted it."

"When this president goes overseas, it's not a goodwill mission," he continued. "It's a blooper reel. America deserves a president who is looked up to, not laughed at."

Night 3: Kamala Harris accepted the vice presidential nomination and other speakers included Barack Obama, Hilary Clinton, Elizabeth Warren, and a 11-year-old girl whose mom was deported

Watch the highlights from all 4 nights of the virtual 2020 Democratic National Convention
U.S. Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) accepts the Democratic vice presidential nomination during an acceptance speech delivered for the largely virtual 2020 Democratic National Convention from the Chase Center in Wilmington, Delaware, U.S., August 19, 2020.Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

Sen. Kamala Harris made history as the first woman of color to accept major party nomination after she was formally awarded the nomination for vice president from the Democratic party.


In her address at the DNC, she talked about her immigrant mother raising her and her sister "to be proud, strong Black women, and she raised us to know and be proud of our Indian heritage."

Former President Barack Obama also attacked Trump in a scathing rebuke of his successor. The former president said Trump has "shown no interest in putting in the work; no interest in finding common ground; no interest in using the awesome power of his office to help anyone but himself and his friends; no interest in treating the presidency as anything but one more reality show that he can use to get the attention he craves."

"I never expected that my successor would embrace my vision or continue my policies," Obama said. "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," Obama added.

The former president went on to call upon the young people who protested systemic racism and who fought against numerous other issues to vote in November.


"You can give our democracy new meaning. You can take it to a better place," he said. "You're the missing ingredient — the ones who will decide whether or not America becomes the country that fully lives up to its creed."

Trump responded in all-caps to Obama's speech on Twitter, throwing debunked conspiracy theories in an attempt to discredit the former president.

Former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton also encouraged Americans to vote in November, issuing a warning of what could happen based on when she lost the 2016 election.

"Don't forget, Joe and Kamala can win by 3 million votes and still lose," she said, referring to the vote margin of the 2016 election between her and Trump. "Take it from me."

Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, who also ran in the 2020 race and was one of the last three candidates to withdraw, addressed the DNC praising Biden and his "plans," an homage to her campaign of having "a plan for that."


"I love a good plan, and Joe Biden has some really good plans — plans to bring back union jobs in manufacturing and create new union jobs in clean energy," Warren said. "Plans to increase Social Security benefits, cancel billions in student loan debt, and make our bankruptcy laws work for families instead of the creditors who cheat them."

"These plans reflect a central truth: our economic system has been rigged to give bailouts to billionaires and kick dirt in the face of everyone else," she continued. "But we can build a thriving economy by investing in families and fixing what's broken."

The senator from Massachusetts, formerly a teacher, delivered her DNC address from an empty school classroom, and there were subtle allusions to her campaign slogan "Dream Big Fight Hard" (DBFH) and "Black Lives Matter" (BLM) with letters on the shelves in the background.

Estela Juarez, 11, gave an emotional speech reading aloud a letter addressed to Trump, talking about the widely publicized case of her mother, Alejandra Juarez, who was deported to Mexico in 2018.

"Mr. President, my mom is the wife of a proud American marine, and a mother of two American children," she said. "We are American families. We need a president who will bring people together, not tear them apart."


Night 4: Joe Biden gave his acceptance speech, and other speakers included Andrew Yang, Pete Buttigieg, and a 13-year-old with a stutter who Biden helped

Watch the highlights from all 4 nights of the virtual 2020 Democratic National Convention
Former Vice President Joe Biden delivers remarks on the coronavirus at Alexis I. Dupont High School in Wilmington, Delaware.Alex Wong/Getty Images

Biden officially accepted the Democratic party nomination for president on the final night of the DNC, promising to reunite the divided country.

"United we can, and will, overcome this season of darkness in America. We will choose hope over fear, facts over fiction, fairness over privilege," Biden said. "I am a proud Democrat, and I will be proud to carry the banner of our party into the general election."

"So, it is with great honor and humility that I accept this nomination for President of the United States of America," he continued.

In his remarks at the DNC, Brayden Harrington, a 13-year-old with a stutter who met Biden on the campaign trail earlier this year, described how Biden, who also had a stutter, gave him tips to help overcome his speech impediment.

"Without Joe Biden, I wouldn't be talking to you today," Harrington said. He went on to say that Biden told him they were "members of the same club: we stutter."


"I'm just a regular kid, and in a short amount of time, Joe Biden made me feel more confident about something that's bothered me my whole life," the teenager said.

Other former 2020 Democrats delivered remarks at the DNC to throw their support behind Biden, including entrepreneur Andrew Yang and former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg.