Joe Biden named California Sen. Kamala Harris as his running mate on Tuesday, making history by selecting the first black woman to compete on the presidential ballot for a major party and recognizing the vital role that black voters will play in his attempt to defeat President Donald Trump, according to AP.
In choosing Harris, Biden is adopting a former Democratic primary rival who is familiar with the unique rigor of a national campaign. Born to a Jamaican father and an Indian mother, the 55-year-old first-term senator is one of the party’s most prominent figures. She quickly became a top contender for the No. 2 spot after her own White House campaign ended a few months ago.
In a tweet, Biden called Harris a “fearless fighter and one of the best public servants in the country.”
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) August 12, 2020
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“Together, with you, we are going to beat Trump,” he said.
I have the great honor to announce that I’ve picked @KamalaHarris — a fearless fighter for the little guy, and one of the country’s finest public servants — as my running mate.
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) August 11, 2020
Harris and Biden plan a campaign event on Wednesday near Biden’s home in Wilmington, Delaware.
Harris joins Biden in the 2020 race at a time of unprecedented US national crisis. The coronavirus pandemic has claimed the lives of more than 160,000 people in the US, far more than the number of victims in other countries. Business closures and disruptions resulting from the pandemic have caused serious economic tension. Meanwhile, unrest has risen across the country as Americans protest racism and police brutality.
After Tuesday’s announcement, Trump quickly tweeted a campaign ad dismissing Harris as “fake” and saying that she and Biden “jointly embrace the radical left.”
Trump’s terrible handling of crises has given Biden a chance, and he enters the fall campaign in a strong position against the incumbent president. By adding Harris to the ticket, he can point to her relatively centrist track record on issues like healthcare and her experience in law enforcement in the nation’s largest state.
Harris’s record as California attorney general and district attorney in San Francisco was heavily scrutinized during the Democratic primaries and she waa turned down by some liberals and younger black voters who saw her out of step on issues of racism in the legal system and police brutality. She tried to strike a balance on these issues, declaring herself a “progressive prosecutor” who supports law enforcement reforms but it didn’t do the trick for her in the primaries.
Former President Barak Obama, who had Biden as his vice president for his eight-year term, said the Democratic candidate “nailed this decision,” in a lengthy statement posted on Twitter.
“Joe has an ideal partner to help him address the real challenges America faces right now and for years to come,” Obama noted, saying that Harris is “more than ready” for the job.
“I have known Senator @KamalaHarris for a long time. She is more than ready for work. She has spent her career defending our Constitution and fighting for people who need fair treatment. This is a good day for our country. Now we are going to win this thing.”
Hillary and Bill Clinton
Former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton said she was “thrilled to welcome Kamala Harris to a historic Democratic nomination.”
“She has already proven herself to be an incredible civil servant and leader. And I know she will be a strong partner for Joe Biden, ” Clinton tweeted.
Her husband, former President Bill Clinton, welcomed what he considered a “great choice.”
Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, a two-time presidential candidate whose progressive policies pushed the moderate Biden to the left, congratulated Harris, his former opponent in the Democratic primary.
“She understands what it takes to stand up for workers, fight for health care for all, and topple the most corrupt government in history,” he tweeted. “Let’s get down to business and win,” he said.
“Senator Harris is a tenacious and innovative leader,” said Susan Rice, former national security adviser to Barack Obama, who was also among the favorites to be named Biden’s running mate.
“I’m sure the Biden-Harris ticket will prove a winner,” she tweeted, pledging her full support.
Shortly after the announcement, US President Donald Trump posted a video on his Twitter account in which he questioned Harris and called her “fake.”
“Kamala Harris campaigned to become president by running into the arms of the radical left,” begins the video, in which she is also accused of having asked for new taxes of several “millions of millions.”
At a press conference at the White House, Trump said he was “surprised” by Biden’s decision, criticizing the “poor” performance of the senator during the Democratic primary.
Featured image: Courtesy of Joe Biden campaign.