Americans across the 50 states and U.S. territories highlighted the country's diversity and individual identities during the Democratic National Convention's virtual roll call officially nominating Joe Biden as the party's nominee.

The state of play: Khizr Khan, the father of a Muslim U.S. soldier killed in combat, represented Virginia in nominating Biden. He spoke at the DNC in 2016 and held the U.S. Constitution, asking if then-candidate Donald Trump had ever read it.

  • This time, Khan spoke of how his family was attacked after Trump "praised those racists" who killed counterprotester Heather Heyer at a white nationalist rally in "my beloved city, Charlottesville," referring to when the president said there were "very fine people on both sides" at the protest.
  • He accused Trump of "turning his back on a community that just wanted peace," but called Biden a "decent compassionate man," who "will bring the nation together." 

Judy and Dennis Shepard represented the Wyoming delegation for the roll call vote. They are the parents of Matthew Shepard, a university student who was beaten death for being gay in 1998.

"After our son’s death in Wyoming, Joe Biden helped pass the legislation to protect LGBTQ Americans from hate crimes. He understands more than most our grief over his death. We see in Joe so much of what made Matt's life special. Commitment to equality. Passion for social justice. And compassion for others."

Jamie Harrison, who is running for Senate against Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), represented South Carolina.

Geraldine Waller represented Nebraska. Waller is a meatpacking plant employee, which have been among some of the hardest hit by the coronavirus.

Rhode Island state Rep. Joseph McNamara said "the calamari comeback state" casts its votes for Biden.

Alicia Andrews, the Chair of the Oklahoma Democratic Party, nominated Biden in Tulsa, where white mobs attacked black residents and their businesses in 1921.

Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio), a former Democratic presidential candidate, nominated Biden in Ohio.

State Rep. Derrick Lente, a Native American, represented New Mexico in the roll call.

Scheena Iyande Tannis, a registered nurse and immigrant, represented New York state for the roll call.

Worth noting: A handful of those representing their state's delegation spoke in Spanish, including Rep. Veronica Escobar in Texas.

  • New York Times security guard Jacquelyn Brittany was the first person to officially nominate Biden.

Go deeper

Mike Allen, author of AM
Oct 23, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Trump-Biden venom on display during final debate

Photos: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images; Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

Joe Biden twice referred to President Trump as "this guy," and Trump called the former vice president's family "like a vacuum cleaner" for foreign money.

Why it matters: The personal venom — during Thursday's final presidential debate, in Nashville — was a reminder that even during a more normal debate, nothing this year is normal.

Finally, a real debate

Photo: Morry Gash/AP

A more disciplined President Trump held back from the rowdy interruptions at tonight's debate in Nashville, while making some assertions so outlandish that Joe Biden chuckled and even closed his eyes. A Trump campaign adviser told Axios: "He finally listened." 

The result: A real debate.

Biden on Trump's "socialist" attack: "He thinks he's running against somebody else"

"He's a very confused guy," Joe Biden said during the final presidential debate on Thursday after President Trump cited Sen. Bernie Sanders' attempt to make single-payer health care work in Vermont. "He thinks he's running against somebody else"

Why it matters: The Trump campaign has sought to paint Biden as an empty vessel for radical socialism, despite the former vice president's more moderate positions compared to candidates he ran against in the Democratic primary. Biden said the public health insurance option in his plan is not an example of socialized medicine, but is meant to ensure that Americans "have the right to have affordable health care."

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