Clinton accepts Dem nod with call to unite against Trump

Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonImpeachment hearings don't move needle with Senate GOP GOP divided over impeachment trial strategy 'Too Far Left' hashtag trends on Twitter MORE made history as the first woman to accept a major party's nomination for president Thursday and called on Democrats to unify for a fight in the fall against Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump reversed course on flavored e-cigarette ban over fear of job losses: report Trump to award National Medal of Arts to actor Jon Voight Sondland notified Trump officials of investigation push ahead of Ukraine call: report MORE

Much of Clinton’s address focused on the choice voters face between the former secretary of State and Trump, the Republican nominee, who Clinton said threatened to take the country from “morning in America to midnight in America.”

ADVERTISEMENT

“American is once again at a moment of reckoning,” she warned, casing Trump’s policy goals as ushering in a dark view of the country. 

Clinton sought to portray her own leadership as being built on a vision of an optimistic present and future for the country that would be inclusive for all Americans.  

“We will not build a wall,” she said. “Instead we will build an economy where everyone who wants a good job can get one. And we will build a path to citizenship for millions of Americans who are already contributing.

“We will not ban a religion; we will work with all Americans and allies to fight and defeat terrorism.”

"Stronger together" is the theme of Clinton’s campaign, and she and other speakers repeatedly returned to it on Thursday evening as they sought to portray the former secretary of State as a more hopeful candidate than Trump and one who could bring different people together instead of driving them apart. 

“Don’t let anyone tell you that our country is weak,” Clinton said. “We’re not. Don’t let anyone tell you we don’t have what it takes. We do."

She spent a large part of the speech tearing apart Trump’s positions on everything from the military to his steadiness. 

“Do you really think Donald Trump has the temperament to be commander in chief?” she asked. “He loses his cool at the slightest provocation. A man you can bait with a tweet is not a man we can trust with nuclear weapons.”

She blasted Trump for being in the pocket of the gun lobby, while sending the signal to Republicans that she wasn’t one to take away their guns. “I’m not here to repeal the Second Amendment,” she said. “I just don’t want you to be shot by someone who shouldn’t have a gun in the first place.”

Clinton made unifying the party the first part of her speech, thanking Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersBiden says he won't legalize marijuana because it may be a 'gateway drug' Democrats seize on report of FedEx's Bernie Sanders tax bill to slam Trump's tax plan If we want to save earth, we need to change how we eat MORE (I-Vt.) for making economic justice the centerpiece of the Democratic presidential primary and telling his supporters, “Your cause is our cause.” 

Time and again, she gave significant nods to her former rival's supporters on issues that drove them to the polls in the primary.

“I believe Wall Street can never ever be allowed to wreck Main Street again,” she said.

“And I believe in science,” she added, pausing as the crowd cheered the one-liner. “I know climate change is real and that we can save our planet while creating millions of good paying clean energy jobs.”

Dozens of people wearing neon-green shirts meant to represent Sanders held signs for Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate. 

As Sanders supporters shouted interruptions at the beginning of her speech, Clinton said the Democratic platform represented Sanders’s beliefs and argued it was time for all Democrats to get behind them.

“That is the only way we can turn your progressive platform into real change for America,” she said. “We wrote it together. Now let’s go out an make it happen together.” 

On television, the interruptions were less noticeable and may at times have made the reception to Clinton’s speech seem more raucous.

Chants of “Hillary!" from her own supporters repeatedly drowned out the protests. 

Thursday night’s program completed a convention week that featured Democratic stars of the recent past, present and future offering testimonials to Clinton. 

Among the most memorable addresses were the ones from President Obama and his wife, first lady Michelle ObamaMichelle LeVaughn Robinson ObamaResistance or unhinged behavior? Partisan hatred reaches Trump's family Budowsky: A Biden-Michelle Obama ticket in 2020? Bloomberg threatens to shake up 2020 primary MORE, and they set the bar high for Clinton in her own speech.  

Several speakers on Thursday went after Trump pointedly, from a Republican with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to the father of a Muslim serviceman killed in Afghanistan, who in one of the night’s most powerful moments admonished Trump for his call to temporarily ban Muslims from entering the country, asking if he had read the Constitution. 

Clinton, resplendent in a white suit, came out to “Fight Song” by Katy Perry and chants of “Hillary!" as many delegates around the arena waved American flags. She spent a few moments to acknowledge what accepting the nomination meant for women.

“I’m so happy that this day has come,” she said. “I’m so happy for grandmothers and little girls and everyone in between. 

“After all,” she added, “when there are no ceilings, the sky is the limit.”

As Clinton moves into the general election and the final 100 days of the campaign, a question of trust and likability looms over her. And in her speech, Clinton sought to tell her story, acknowledging that as a public servant "the service part has always come easier to me than the public part."

"I get it that some people just don't know what to make of me," she said. 

Her daughter Chelsea, who introduced her, also aimed to humanize her mother, regaling the crowd with tales about how she loves talking with her granddaughter Charlotte over FaceTime. 

She said her mother was always there for her, attending soccer games and piano recitals and spending Sundays at church and the library. 

“From that moment to this one, every single memory I have of my mother is that, whatever's happening in her life, she's always, always there for me,” Chelsea Clinton said. 

“That feeling — being valued and loved — that's something my mom wants for every child,” she said. “It's the calling of her life.

A video narrated by the actor Morgan Freeman went through Clinton’s history as a first lady, senator from New York and secretary of State.