US President Donald Trump
US President Donald Trump
PIC: AFP

All set to script history by nominating Indian-origin Senator Kamala Harris as the vice presidential candidate, the Democratic National Convention kicked off on Monday night with a call to unite the "deeply divided" country and defeat President Donald Trump in the presidential election.

Leading the charge was former first lady Michelle Obama who ripped through Trump, saying he is the "wrong president for our country" who is "clearly in over his head".

"We live in a nation that is deeply divided, and I am a Black woman speaking at the Democratic Convention," she said in her video address to the convention which is being held virtually in view of the deadly spread of coronavirus that has so far killed over 170,000 people in the US and infected 5.4 million others.

"If we have any hope of ending this chaos, we have got to vote for Joe Biden like our lives depend on it," Michelle said as she concluded the first day's proceedings of the convention whose theme was "We the People." The convention would formally nominate Biden, 77, as the party's presidential candidate and Indian-origin Senator Harris, 55, as his running mate in the November 3 election.

Harris, the first ever black and first ever Indian American and African American to be nominated as a vice presidential candidate by a major political party, made a few brief appearances during the first night as part of the former presidential candidates' address.

"We all ran for president motivated by the same reasons," said Harris who is scheduled to address the convention on Wednesday.

"On the other side, Donald Trump does not understand who we are as Americans. He really doesn't," she said in brief remarks as speakers after speakers at the convention slammed Trump for his policies, which they alleged has divided the country.

The sharpest attack came from Michelle. "So let me be as honest and clear as I possibly can, Donald Trump is the wrong president for our country. He has had more than enough time to prove that he can do the job but he is clearly in over his head," she said. "He cannot meet this moment. He simply cannot be who we need him to be for us," she said.

"If Donald Trump is reelected, all the progress we have made will be in jeopardy," former presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders alleged as he accused the president of being negligent to the pandemic which has resulted in job loss to 30 million.

"We've got one shot to make Donald Trump a one-term president, and that shot is right now," former presidential candidate and Senator Cory Booker said.

"Trump just happens to be in my state (Minnesota) today trying to divide people and instead of responding to the pandemic and the significant needs of our economy but Democrats, independents and yes, many Republicans have had enough of his divisiveness," said former presidential candidate Senator Amy Klobuchar.

Indian-origin Democratic politician Sara Gideo, who is running for the US Senate seat from Maine, said that with Biden in the White House "we can build back our economy and our communities even stronger".

In a major embarrassment to the Republican Party, former GOP Governor John Kasich said that America is at a crossroads.

"The stakes in this election are greater than any in modern times. Many of us have been deeply concerned about the current path we've been following for the past four years. It's a path that led to division, dysfunction, irresponsibility, and growing vitriol between our citizens," Kasich said.

"Continuing to follow that path will have terrible consequences for America's soul because we're being taken down the wrong road by a president who has pitted one against the other. He's unlike all of our best leaders before him who worked to unite us, to bridge our differences and lead us to a united America," he said.

Several of the speakers laid the road to economic recovery. Greg Weaver, a former Amtrak conductor and a friend of Biden - who rode the train with Biden for decades - said how Biden cares about ordinary, hard-working Americans, and how he treats them with dignity and respect.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo in his remarks alleged that Trump's failure to act left America vulnerable and divided during a global pandemic.

"One of the last things that my father said to me was that he felt betrayed by the likes of Donald Trump. And so, when I cast my vote for Joe Biden, I will do it for my dad," Kristin Urquiza from Phoenix, Arizona said, sharing her story.

Megan Rapinoe, star of the US Women's soccer team, led a conversation with a doctor, paramedic, and nurses on the front lines of the pandemic about how their colleagues are risking their lives every day in harrowing conditions.

Biden, himself made a few brief appearances during the virtual convention. In one of those segments he engaged with, and listened to, social justice activist Jamira Burley, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo, NAACP President Derrick Johnson, and author Gwen Carr, mother of Eric Garner, and discussed how Americans can embark together on the path forward toward true equality, fairness, and justice for all.

Meanwhile, Trump's election campaign has described the DNC as a Hollywood-produced infomercial which failed to hide the radical-leftist takeover of Biden.

"During this underwhelming DNC, there's been a whole lot of singing but ZERO explaining of how Joe will... create jobs, end riots, stop innocent loss of lives on our streets..,." White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said.

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