Democratic White House candidate Joe Biden is poised to make the most important speech of his long political career on Thursday as he accepts the party's nomination to take on Republican Donald Trump in a November election taking place under the grim shadow of an unprecedented health and economic crisis.
"We can't go back to the way things were before these crises, because things weren't working for far too many Americans," Biden said in a tweet ahead of his primetime television speech wrapping up the Democratic convention.
"Tonight, we'll discuss our plans to build back better and set this nation on a new path," the 77-year-old former vice president and long-time senator from Delaware said.
Because of the coronavirus pandemic, Biden will deliver his remarks to a live audience consisting of only a few reporters, aides and family in his hometown of Wilmington, Delaware.
His acceptance speech will be the final salvo in a convention that was to have been held in the battleground state of Wisconsin -- but ended up being almost entirely online because of the COVID-19 outbreak.
In a bid to draw attention away from Biden, Trump is scheduled to deliver remarks on Thursday in Old Forge, Pennsylvania, a town near Biden's birthplace of Scranton.
Pennsylvania, like Wisconsin, is one of a handful of states seen as crucial to Trump's and Biden's hopes of victory on November 3.
In a show of unity, other speakers on the convention's final day include politicians who challenged Biden for the nomination.
Former South Bend, Indiana, mayor Pete Buttigieg is scheduled to speak along with New York billionaire Michael Bloomberg, entrepreneur Andrew Yang, and New Jersey Senator Cory Booker.
- 'Failure of leadership' -
On Wednesday, California Senator Kamala Harris made history as she accepted the nomination to be Biden's running mate.
Harris, the first black woman on a major party's White House ticket, joined former president Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton in condemning Trump's leadership.
Harris accused Trump of turning "our tragedies into political weapons" and urged Americans to vote for Biden, "a president who will bring all of us together."
"Donald Trump's failure of leadership has cost lives and livelihoods," she said. "We're at an inflection point."
Shortly before Harris spoke, Obama, America's first black president, delivered his own condemnation of Trump -- and appealed for voters to choose Biden, who is making his third run at the Oval Office.
"Tonight, I am asking you to believe in Joe and Kamala's ability to lead this country out of dark times and build it back better," Obama said.
On handing over the White House to Trump in 2017, Obama said he thought the Republican "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," the former president said.
Trump has left America's "worst impulses unleashed, our proud reputation around the world badly diminished, and our democratic institutions threatened like never before," Obama said.
Trump responded by telling reporters that Obama had been "a terrible president."
As Democrats prepared to wrap up their four-day convention, federal prosecutors in New York announced that Trump's former campaign advisor Steve Bannon had been arrested and charged along with three others for defrauding hundreds of thousands of donors in a Mexico border wall fundraising campaign.
Trump said he didn't "know anything about the project at all."
© 2020 AFP