“Mother nature has joined this conversation around climate change,” California Governor Newsom said, as wildfires continued to sear through the state, forcing thousands from their homes amid a heatwave and the coronavirus pandemic.
As the flames edged toward the Silicon Valley city of San Jose, they blackened the skies and spewed up what was perhaps some of the worst air quality in the world. Ash blanketed many Bay Area neighborhoods, and health officials asked residents to stay indoors, warning that the combination of smoky air and Covid-19 make those with respiratory conditions doubly vulnerable.
About two dozen major blazes and several smaller fires have eaten through brushland and dense forests, wildlands in the Sierra Nevada, southern California, and regions north, east and south of San Francisco.
The coronavirus pandemic has also complicated the government’s ability to safely evacuate and shelter residents. The Red Cross has tried to secure hotel rooms for evacuees who are unable to stay with family or friends. “Providing shelter at traditional evacuation centers is not our first option this year,” said Jim Burns, a spokesman for the American Red Cross. California has been struggling to get a handle on a recent surge in coronavirus cases, and crowded shelters could exacerbate the spread of Covid-19 among evacuees.
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– Maanvi Singh
The convention played a video highlighting Joe Biden’s “moonshot” effort to cure cancer while serving as Barack Obama’s vice president.
Biden took up the effort after his eldest son, Beau Biden, died of brain cancer at the age of 46.
In her Tuesday speech, Jill Biden described the anguish of losing Beau, and she argued her husband’s continued public service after that tragic loss underscored his commitment to the country.
Democratic National Committee chairman Tom Perez kicked off the final night of the convention by acknowledging the unprecedented nature of this year’s virtual convention.
Perez said this was not the convention that Democrats had planned to hold, but he noted the virtual event may be a “more accurate reflection” of the state of our country than any traditional convention possibly could be.
Final night of the Democratic convention starts
Convention chairman Bennie Thompson has gaveled in tonight’s proceedings. The final night of the 2020 Democratic National Convention is now underway.
Democrats probably couldn’t ask for a better backdrop as Joe Biden accepts the presidential nomination, considering one of Trump’s former advisers was indicted on fraud charges earlier today.
Federal prosecutors say Steve Bannon used money from his anti-immigrant group “We Build the Wall” on personal expenses. Bannon appeared in court this afternoon, and he pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Democrats will almost certainly draw attention to the ongoing theme of the president’s advisers facing criminal charges during the convention tonight.
A few of Joe Biden’s former primary rivals are scheduled to speak tonight, before Biden accepts the presidential nomination.
Businessman Andrew Yang, former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg and New Jersey Senator Cory Booker are all expected to deliver remarks tonight.
According to excerpts released by the DNC, Buttigieg, who is openly gay, will celebrate the country’s progress on LGBTQ rights in recent years.
“Just over ten years ago, I joined a military where firing me because of who I am wasn’t just possible—it was policy,” Buttigieg will say. “Now in 2020, it is unlawful in America to fire anyone because of who they are or who they love. The very ring on my finger reflects how this country can change.”
Buttigieg will also explicitly mention the Black Lives Matter movement, which is noteworthy considering Buttigieg struggled to attract support from voters of color during the Democratic primary.
“Every American must now decide,” Buttigieg will say. “Can America be a place where faith is about healing and not exclusion? Can we become a country that lives up to the truth that Black lives matter?”
Biden to formally accept Democratic nomination
Hello, live blog readers, and welcome to the last night of the virtual Democratic National Convention.
The past three nights have led up to this moment, when Joe Biden will formally accept the Democratic nomination for president.
Biden has the unenviable task of following Barack Obama and Kamala Harris, who both delivered impassioned speeches about the need to defeat Donald Trump in November’s presidential election last night.
Obama warned that Trump’s potential reelection posed an existential threat to the future of American democracy, saying, “This administration has shown it will tear our democracy down if that’s what it takes to win. So we have to get busy building it up.”
Harris then gave a historic speech to accept the vice presidential nomination, becoming the first Black woman and first Asian American to join a major party’s presidential ticket.
The vice presidential nominee also condemned Trump’s leadership in the face of a global pandemic, accusing the president of trying to turn “tragedies into political weapons”.
Biden will likely continue to hammer those themes tonight, when he takes the virtual stage to accept the presidential nomination.
The last night of the convention kicks off in about 45 minutes, so stay tuned.