US President Donald Trump said Tuesday he would accept his party's re-election nomination from the White House next week, as his Democratic opponents intensified their attacks on his chaotic presidency and touted Joe Biden as the must-elect replacement.
Trump made the revelation as the Democratic National Convention gathered for its second day, with two ex-presidents preparing to unleash their own arguments against the White House incumbent.
The lineup features Jimmy Carter, who served one term from 1977, and 1990s commander-in-chief Bill Clinton, who will say the Trump White House is swirling with chaos instead of the competence necessary to address the nation's crises.
"At a time like this, the Oval Office should be a command center. Instead, it's a storm center. There's only chaos," Clinton said in speech excerpts released by convention organizers.
"Just one thing never changes — his determination to deny responsibility and shift the blame," Clinton said. "The buck never stops there."
Democrats are gathering virtually over four days to formally nominate Biden and showcase why their candidate should replace Trump.
The president faced a barrage of criticism on opening night, most notably from former first lady Michelle Obama who said Trump lacks the character and skills for the job.
"I thought it was a very divisive speech, extremely divisive," Trump told reporters at the White House.
In her pre-taped remarks to the convention — which has gone almost entirely online because of the coronavirus pandemic — Obama urged Americans to rally behind Biden, her husband's former vice president, in the November 3 presidential election.
Trump's White House is marred by "chaos, division and a total and utter lack of empathy," Barack Obama's wife said in unprecedented criticism of a sitting US president by a former first lady.
"Donald Trump is the wrong president for our country," she added. "He is clearly in over his head."
Later Tuesday on a visit to battleground state Arizona, Trump knocked Obama for delivering taped remarks.
"Thursday night I'm doing it live," Trump said, referring to his speech next week when he formally accepts his party's nomination at the Republican convention, which has also shifted online.
Trump said he has chosen the White House South Lawn as the location, after saying in recent weeks that he would pick between the presidential mansion and the historic battlefield at Gettysburg.
Delivering such an obviously political speech from the White House will stir substantial controversy, as presidents are required to separate their campaigning from taxpayer-funded governing.
– Loyal top supporter –
In addition to Clinton and Carter, Tuesday's lineup will feature Jill Biden, who has been married to the candidate since 1977.
The educator from Pennsylvania, who served eight years as second lady, has campaigned at length for Biden, repeatedly speaking of his values and commitment to everyday Americans.
The educator from Pennsylvania will deliver a personal, high-stakes prime-time testimonial about her husband, including how the personal tragedy of the death of his first wife and daughter in a 1972 car crash has shaped him.
"How do you make a broken family whole?" she will say. "The same way you make a nation whole. With love and understanding — and with small acts of compassion. With bravery. With unwavering faith."
The camp is promoting Joe Biden as a unifier. In their appeal to middle-of-the-road voters and frustrated Republicans the convention will feature a video of the unlikely friendship between Biden and late Republican senator John McCain, narrated by his widow Cindy McCain.
Republican former secretary of state Colin Powell is also reportedly set to deliver videotaped remarks in which he endorses Biden.
But the convention is also about unifying Democratic factions, and to that end New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a rising star in the progressive wing of the party, is speaking.
The convention on Tuesday will holds the formal vote by more than 3,900 delegates from 50 states and seven territories who choose the party's nominee.
Biden clinched that race in early June when he secured the majority 1,991 delegates needed to win the nomination.
Former president Obama will speak on Wednesday along with 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and Biden's running mate, Senator Kamala Harris of California.
The convention culminates on Thursday when the 77-year-old Biden formally accepts the Democratic nomination and delivers his acceptance speech.
US presidential nominating conventions are traditionally raucous affairs featuring rousing speeches, balloons and confetti and thousands of delegates from around the country.
But the Democratic gathering in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and next week's Republican event in North Carolina have been forced to go almost entirely online because of the Covid-19 outbreak.