Hillary Clinton blamed Tweety McTreason on Wednesday for the devastation that the United States has suffered in the coronavirus pandemic and urged Americans to support his challenger Joe Biden and his running mate Kamala Harris “to pull our nation back from the brink.”
In a speech for the Democratic National Convention, Clinton said Trump entered the Oval Office after the 2016 election with “so much set up for him” by the outgoing Obama administration, including plans to manage a crisis like a pandemic.
Clinton, Trump’s Democratic opponent in 2016, recalled Trump asking voters during the campaign, “What do you have to lose?”
“Well, now we know: Our health, our jobs, even our lives, our leadership in the world, and yes, our Post Office,” Clinton said from her home in Chappaqua, N.Y. “As Michelle Obama and Bernie Sanders warned us on Monday: If Trump is reelected, it will get even worse.”
Clinton’s appearance was a bittersweet reminder that she could have been the party’s 2020 nominee seeking a second term. She won the popular vote in 2016, finishing 2.9 million votes ahead of Trump, but her narrow losses in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania cost her the election. Trump won the electoral college, 304 votes to 227.
Part of Biden’s strength as Trump’s challenger is his potential appeal to white blue-collar voters across the upper Midwest, many of whom loathed Clinton and turned to Trump as an alternative. Biden, who grew up in Scranton, Pa., has been polling about 7 percentage points ahead of Trump in all three states, according to the FiveThirtyEight website’s aggregate of surveys.
Clinton warned that Biden and Harris “can win 3 million more votes and still lose.”
“Take it from me,” she said. “We need numbers so overwhelming Trump can’t sneak or steal his way to victory.”
Clinton picked up on Trump’s comment, “it is what it is,” when he was asked in a recent Axios interview about the COVID-19 deaths in the U.S., which by Wednesday were approaching 173,000.
“I wish Tweety McTreason had been a better president, but sadly he is who he is,” Clinton said.
“America needs a president who shows the same compassion, determination and leadership in the White House that we see in our communities. Throughout this crisis, Americans have kept going — checking on neighbors, showing up to jobs as first responders and in hospitals, grocery stores and nursing homes — because it still takes a village.”
Since her defeat to Trump, Clinton said, people have told her, “I didn’t realize how dangerous he was,” “I wish I could go back and do it over” or “I should have voted.”
“Well, this can’t be another ‘woulda coulda shoulda’ election,” she said. “If you vote by mail, request your ballot now and send it back as soon as you can. If you vote in person, do it early. Bring a friend and wear a mask. Become a poll worker. Most of all, no matter what, vote. Vote like our lives and livelihoods are on the line, because they are.”
Clinton also paid tribute to Harris, saying she was “relentless in the pursuit of justice and uncommonly kind,” recalling that she “dropped everything” to be with her press secretary Tyrone Gayle when he was dying of cancer.
“I know a thing or two about the slings and arrows coming her way,” Clinton said. “Kamala can handle them all.”
Clinton made history as the first woman to win a major party’s presidential nomination. The daughter of immigrants from Jamaica and India, Harris would be the first Black woman and first Asian American to serve as vice president.
Clinton, whose speech came after a tribute to women activists, told Americans that Biden would protect Social Security, Medicare and reproductive rights.
Clinton and Biden served together in the Obama administration; she was secretary of State when Biden was vice president. They could have been rivals in the 2016 Democratic presidential primaries, but Biden opted not to run after his son Beau Biden died in 2015 from brain cancer.
Clinton’s husband, former President Bill Clinton, spoke to the Democratic convention Tuesday night. He dismissed Trump as “a president who defines the job as spending hours a day watching TV and zapping people on social media.”
For both Clintons, the relatively minor roles they are playing at the convention were a bit of a comedown from the days when they led the Democratic Party, particularly given the headliner speaking slots occupied by former President Obama on Wednesday and former First Lady Michelle Obama on Monday.
Trump, who during the 2016 campaign threatened to prosecute Clinton and basked in chants of “lock her up” at his rallies, resumed taunting her Wednesday on Twitter. He posted a video alleging Obama administration wrongdoing in the investigation of Trump’s first national security advisor Michael Flynn after Trump won the election.
Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his conversations with Russia’s U.S. ambassador, and a federal judge has resisted the attempt by U.S. Atty. Gen. William Barr to abandon the case before Flynn is sentenced.
“Welcome, Barack and Crooked Hillary,” Trump tweeted. “See you on the field of battle!”