• Michelle Obama leads DNC calls for change: "Donald Trump is the wrong president for our country"
  • Sen. Bernie Sanders says "we need Joe Biden as our next president" in hopes of unifying party
  • Several GOP members echo calls for Trump to be a one-term president

The Democratic National Convention opened its virtual presentation in Milwaukee on Monday with top draws Michelle Obama and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., angrily slamming President Donald Trump for his failures as the leader of the American people.

Also sounding off with the Dems' heavy hitters were a bevy of moderate Republicans led by former Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who took to the virtual stage to assail Trump for betraying traditional Republican values and replacing it with his personal self-interest.

Former First Lady Michelle Obama made the case for the Democrats' soon-to-be presidential nominee Joe Biden, saying the choice for Americans in the Nov. 3 election is clear -- a "profoundly decent man, guided by his faith" or "the wrong president for our country" for four more years.

Day One of the 2020 Democratic National Convention also saw Sanders warn Trump is "leading us down the path of authoritarianism." He also offered a ringing endorsement of his former rival for the Democratic nomination in hopes of unifying the party.

America needs a movement "prepared to stand up and fight for democracy and decency -- and against greed, oligarchy, and bigotry," Sanders said. "And we need Joe Biden as our next president."

Obama described Biden as a terrific vice president for eight years to her husband, former President Barack Obama . Biden "knows what it takes to rescue an economy, beat back a pandemic, and lead our country," she said.

Alluding to the immense personal tragedies Biden has endured, Obama said these painful experiences means "Joe knows the anguish of sitting at a table with an empty chair."

Obama said Biden's life is a testament "to getting back up, and he is going to channel that same grit and passion to pick us all up, to help us heal and guide us forward."

Obama declared now is not the time for Americans to withhold their votes in protest or play games with candidates who have no chance of winning. Addressing Democrats, she said, "We have go to vote like we did in 2008 or 2012. We have to go show up with the same level of passion and hope."

Her effusive praise of Biden was matched by the depth of her distaste for Trump. She pinned the loss of lives and the damage to the economy because of a COVID-19 crisis Trump downplayed for too long. The pandemic has left millions of people jobless and too many have lost their health care, she said.

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden on stage with his wife, Jill Biden after declaring victory in the South Carolina  primary
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden on stage with his wife, Jill Biden after declaring victory in the South Carolina primary GETTY IMAGES / SPENCER PLATT

"So let me be as honest and clear as I possibly can," she said. "Donald Trump is the wrong president for our country. He has had more than enough time to prove that he can do the job, but he is clearly in over his head. He cannot meet this moment. He simply cannot be who we need him to be for us. It is what it is."

Kasich was joined in his criticism of Trump by fellow GOP members, including former N.J. Gov. Christine Todd Whitman, former N.Y. Rep. Susan Molinari and former Hewlett Packard CEO Meg Whitman. He told fellow Republicans, "We're being taken down the wrong road by a president who has pitted one against the other." He called himself a lifelong Republican, "but that attachment holds second place to my responsibility to my country."

Todd Whitman said she supports Biden because he's "a person decent enough, stable enough, strong enough to get our economy back on track." Molinari called Trump as "disappointing, and lately so disturbing." Whitman blasted Trump for having "no clue how to run a business, let alone an economy."

They are among many high-profile Republicans to recently speak out against Trump, including niece Dr. Mary Trump and former Department of Homeland official Miles Taylor.

One of the more somber moments came when two brothers of George Floyd spoke about the loss of their sibling at the hands of police brutality and the movement his death sparked around the country.

Tuesday's DNC lineup will be highlighted by speeches from former President Bill Clinton and Biden's wife, Dr. Jill Biden.