Thursday's installment of the 2016 Democratic National Convention was a family affair. Just before former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton took the stage in Philadelphia to formally accept her party's nomination for president — and become the first woman in history to do so — her daughter, Chelsea, gave a strong yet emotional speech of her own. Chelsea Clinton's DNC speech introduced her mother to the American people, even though her mother is perhaps one of the few Americans who doesn't need an introduction.
The former first daughter's introductory speech was widely expected to show a softer side of the newly minted Democratic nominee. After all, to Chelsea, Clinton is first and foremost a mother. To Chelsea's children, Clinton is first and foremost a grandmother. In fact, Chelsea's son and second child, Aidan Clinton Mezvinsky, was just born last month.
Chelsea's speech came exactly a week after her friend Ivanka Trump introduced her own father at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio. Clinton responded to Ivanka's speech earlier this week during a Facebook Live session, asking Ivanka what her father would do to guarantee equal pay across genders. The wage gap is something that the younger Trump's speech focused on, calling on her own experience as a working mother of three. The younger Clinton is also a working mother, but she probably wants the comparisons — at least in political discourse — to end there.
Read the transcript of her speech below.
Thank you! Thank you, it is such an honor for me to be here tonight. I’m here as a proud American, a proud Democrat, a proud mother, and tonight in particular, a very, very proud daughter.
Marc and I can't quite believe it, but our daughter, Charlotte, is nearly two years old. She loves Elmo, she loves blueberries, and above all, she loves Facetiming with grandma. My mom can be about to walk on stage for a debate or a speech, and it just doesn't matter. She'll drop everything for a few minutes of blowing kisses and reading Chugga Chugga Choo Choo with her granddaughter. Oh, Chugga Chugga got an applause.
Our son, Aidan, is five-and-a-half weeks old, and we are so thankful that he's healthy and thriving, and, well, we're a little biased, but we think he's just about the cutest baby in the world, a view I'm pretty sure my mom shares. And every day that I spend as Charlotte and Aidan's mother, I think about my own mother, my wonderful, thoughtful, hilarious mother.
My earliest memory is my mom picking me up after I had fallen down, giving me a big hug, and reading me Goodnight, Moon. From that moment to this one, every single memory that I have of my mom is that regardless of what was happening in her life, she was always, always there for me. Every soccer game, every softball game, every piano recital, every dance recital, Sundays spent together at church and the local library, countless Saturdays spent finding shapes in the clouds, making up stories about what we would do if we ever met a Triceratops — in my opinion, the friendliest-looking dinosaurs, although my mom would always remind me they were still dinosaurs. As a kid, I was pretty obsessed with dinosaurs, and the day that my parents took me to Dinosaur National Park, I didn't think life could get any better.
Whenever my mom was away for work, which thankfully didn't happen very often, she left notes for me to open every day she was gone, all stacked neatly together in a special drawer with a date on the front of each one, so I would know which note to open on which day. When she went to France to learn about their child care system, I remember one was all about the Eiffel Tower. Another was about the ideas she hoped to bring home to help the kids of Arkansas. I treasured each and every one of those notes. They were another reminder that I was always in her thoughts and in her heart.
Growing up, conversations around the dinner table always started with what I learned in school that day. I remember one week talking incessantly about a book that captured my imagination, A Wrinkle in Time. Only after my parents had listened to me would they then talk about what they were working on — education, health care — what was consuming their days and keeping them up at night.
I loved that my parents expected me to have opinions, and to be able to back them up with facts. I never once doubted that my parents cared about my thoughts and my ideas, and I always, always knew how deeply they loved me. That feeling of being valued and loved, that's what my mom wants for every child. It is the calling of her life.
My parents raised me to know how lucky I was that I never had to worry about food on the table, that I never had to worry about a good school to go to, that I never had to worry about a safe neighborhood to play in. And they taught me to care about what happens in our world, and to do whatever I could to change what frustrated me, what felt wrong. They taught me that's the responsibility that comes with being smiled on by fate. And I know my kids are a little young, but I'm already trying to instill those same values in them.
There's something else that my mother taught me: Public service is about service. And as her daughter, I've had a special window into how she serves. I've seen her holding the hands of mothers worried about how they'll feed their kids, worried about how they'll get them the health care they need. I've seen my mother promising to do everything she could to help. I've seen her right after those conversations getting straight to work, figuring out what she could do, who she could call, how fast she could get results. She always feels like there isn't a moment to lose because she knows that for that mother, for that family, there isn't.
And I've also seen her at the low points, like the summer of 1994. Several people this week have talked about her fight for universal health care. I saw it up close. It was bruising. It was exhausting. She fought her heart out, and, as all of you know, she lost.
For me, then 14 years old, it was pretty tough to watch. But my mom, she was amazing. She took a little time to replenish her spirits. Family movie nights definitely helped. Dad, as now all of you know, liked Police Academy. My mom and I loved Pride and Prejudice. And then, she just got right back to work, because she believed she could still make a difference for kids.
People ask me all the time, "How does she do it? How does she keep going amidst the sound and the fury of politics?" Here's how: It's because she never, ever forgets who she's fighting for. She's worked to make it easier for foster kids to be adopted, for our 9/11 first responders to get the health care they deserve, for women around the world to be safe, to be treated with dignity, and to have more opportunities. Fights like these, they're what keep my mother going. They grab her heart and her conscience, and they never, ever let go.
That's who my mom is. She's a listener and a doer. She's a woman driven by compassion, by faith, by a fierce sense of justice and a heart full of love. So, this November, I'm voting for a woman who is my role model, as a mother and as an advocate, a woman who has spent her entire life fighting for families and children. I'm voting for the progressive who will protect our planet from climate change and our communities from gun violence, who will reform our criminal justice system and who knows that women's rights are human rights, and who knows that LGBT rights are human rights, here at home and around the world.
I'm voting for a fighter who never, ever gives up and who believes that we can always do better when we come together and we work together. I hope that my children will someday be as proud of me as I am of my mom. I am so grateful to be her daughter, I'm so grateful that she is Charlotte and Aidan's grandmother. She makes me proud every single day. And, Mom, Grandma would be so, so proud of you tonight. To everyone watching here and at home, I know with all my heart that my mother will make us proud as our next president. This is the story of my mother, Hillary Clinton.
As Chelsea's speech closed with a loud round of cheers and applause from the audience, a video montage of her mother played on the screen above. The former — and potentially future — first daughter gave her mother a touching introduction — and her mother returned the favor when she stepped out onto the stage. What had been a somewhat divided room throughout the week turned into an overwhelming display of pride and patriotism in between the two female Clintons' speeches.