After days of jeering from “Bernie-or-Bust” supporters, it remains to be seen whether U.S. President Barack Obama can unite the Democratic Party to back his one-time rival Hillary Clinton.
The president will be the keynote speaker Wednesday at the Democratic National Convention, where he is expected to speak on the importance of “working together.”
He will be joined by current Vice President Joe Biden and Clinton’s running mate, Tim Kaine. Both Biden and Obama have a not-so-rosy history with Clinton, who ran against Obama during a bitter 2008 primary race.
WHAT TO EXPECT:
- Speakers will include Clinton’s running mate Tim Kaine, Vice President Joe Biden and President Barack Obama
- Two noted republicans, Michael Bloomberg and rnold Schwarzenegger are expected to speak.
- Schwarzenegger, who is currently hosting Celebrity Apprentice, won’t be endorsing Clinton. Instead, he’ll be appearing in a video about climate change.
Early speakers included Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, who will retire in 2016. In his speech, which earned cheers of “Harry! Harry!” from the audience, Reid slammed the party that selected “con man” Trump as its candidate.
“I’ve never seen anything more craven than Mitch McConnell and what he has done to our democracy. His Republican Party decided that the answer to hard-working Americans’ dreams is to slander our African-American president, strike fear of Muslims, sow hatred of Latinos, insult Asians and, of course, wage war against women,” he said.
“In other words, the only thing Republicans like Mitch McConnell have accomplished is setting the stage for a hateful con man, Donald Trump.”
Many of the speakers during Wednesday’s program came from key swing states, such as Reid from Nevada, California’s Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom, and NYC mayor Bill de Blasio.
Former NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg, who served two-terms as a Republican before becoming an independent, is also speaking. Former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger appeared in a video about climate change, but is not expected to endorse Clinton.
During Clinton’s race against Bernie Sanders, Biden, who once had presidential ambitions of his own, kept a neutral stance. After Obama endorsed his former secretary of state in June, Biden gave Clinton a backhanded endorsement during a speech on the future of the U.S. Supreme Court.
“Anybody who thinks that whoever the next president is, and God willing, in my view it will be Secretary Clinton,” Biden said during the speech.
As WikiLeaks posted hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee containing evidence the party apparatus favoured Clinton over Sanders, “Bernie-or-Bust” supporters have been spoiling for a fight, booing during Clinton endorsements and staging protests.
U.S. officials say Russia was behind the hack, with Clinton’s campaign proposing that Putin was trying to interfere in the American election to benefit Donald Trump.
On Wednesday, Trump suggested that Russian hackers should try to find the 30,000 missing emails from her private server.
“Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing,” Trump said.
With files from The Associated Press