‘What time is Dick Cheney?’ Social media reacts to Powell, Cindy McCain at DNC 2020

Just before night two of the Democratic Party’s slickly produced infomercial-convention, social media exploded with the news that Cindy McCain, widow of the late John McCain, and Colin Powell would be delivering pre-taped addresses.

McCain was a longtime Republican senator from Arizona who secured the 2008 GOP presidential nomination, while Powell, 83, is a retired four-star general who served as President George W. Bush’s secretary of state from 2001 to 2005 and served as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under both Bush and Democratic President Bill Clinton.

McCain and Powell were the latest Republicans to join in the convention, after a number of GOP former elected officials — including former Ohio Gov. John Kasich — endorsed Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, on Monday night. It’s a continuation of a major theme Democrats have pushed through the first night of the convention, an effort to broaden the party’s appeal to occasional Republicans and disaffected Trump voters.

In an advance clip from the video shared with The Associated Press, Cindy McCain talked about how Biden, then a Delaware senator, met her husband when John McCain was assigned to be a military aide for him on a trip overseas. The two became friends, and the families would gather for picnics in the Bidens’ backyard.

Cindy McCain was not expected to offer an explicit endorsement, but her involvement in the video is her biggest public show of support yet for Biden’s candidacy. McCain was the 2008 Republican presidential nominee against Democrat Barack Obama, who won the election with Biden as his vice presidential running mate.

When McCain died on a Saturday in 2018, the Trump administration lowered the American flag over the White House to half-staff but then raised it by Monday. After public outcry, the White House flags were again lowered. Trump wasn’t invite to McCain’s funeral.

Powell drew the ire of social media Tuesday night for his role in the invasion of Iraq during the Bush administration under the premise that then-dictator Saddam Hussein was hiding weapons of mass destruction.

Powell said Biden “will trust our diplomats and our intelligence community, not the flattery of dictators and despots.” Trump has expressed doubts about findings from the intelligence community on Russian involvement in the 2016 campaign, and has praised dictators.

Powell also lamented that “today we have a country divided, and we have a president doing everything in his power to make us that way, to keep us that way.”

Here is the full text of Powell’s remarks:

“Hi. I’m former Secretary of State Colin Powell.

“One hundred years ago, a young immigrant left a dirt farm in Jamaica and set out for America.

“Three years later, a ship pulled into New York Harbor, and a young Jamaican woman gazed up at the Statue of Liberty for the first time. They became my parents, and they inspired me to finish college and join the Army.

“This began a journey of service that would take me from basic training to combat in Vietnam, up the ranks to serve as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and secretary of state.

“The values I learned growing up in the South Bronx and serving in uniform were the same values that Joe Biden’s parents instilled in him in Scranton, Pennsylvania. I support Joe Biden for the presidency of the United States because those values still define him, and we need to restore those values to the White House.

“Our country needs a commander in chief who takes care of our troops in the same way he would his own family. For Joe Biden, that doesn’t need teaching. It comes from the experience he shares with millions of military families—sending his beloved son off to war and praying to God he would come home safe.

“Joe Biden will be a president we will all be proud to salute. With Joe Biden in the White House, you will never doubt that he will stand with our friends and stand up to our adversaries—never the other way around.

“He will trust our diplomats and our intelligence community, not the flattery of dictators and despots. He will make it his job to know when anyone dares to threaten us. He will stand up to our adversaries with strength and experience. They will know he means business.

"I support Joe Biden because on Day One he will restore America’s leadership and our moral authority. He’ll be a president who knows America is strongest when, as he has said, “We lead both by the power of our example and the example of our power.” He will restore America’s leadership in the world and restore the alliances we need to address the dangers that threaten our nation, from climate change to nuclear proliferation.

“Today, we are a country divided, and we have a president doing everything in his power to make it that way and keep us that way. What a difference it will make to have a president who unites us, who restores our strength and our soul. I still believe that in our hearts, we are the same America that brought my parents to our shores, an America that inspires freedom around the world. That’s the America Joe Biden will lead as our next president. Thank you very much.”