- Joe Biden has picked Kamala Harris as his running mate
- The two will appear together Wednesday in Wilmington, Delaware
- ‘I’m honored to join him as our party’s nominee for Vice President, and do what it takes to make him our Commander-in-Chief,’ Harris wrote on Twitter
- She is the first black female to hold the running mate spot on Democratic ticket
- Harris was a contender for Democratic nomination but dropped out and endorsed Biden’s presidential campaign
- She was a good friend of his late son Beau Biden
- ‘Joe Biden nailed this decision,’ former President Barack Obama said of Harris
- Biden gave no hint of who he was thinking of picking in public appearances over the weekend when he was at family beach home in Rehoboth, Delaware
- There was heavy pressure on Biden to pick a Black woman
Joe Biden named Kamala Harris as his running mate on Tuesday to help him defeat President Donald Trump this November, a historic choice that acknowledges the role black voters will play in the election.
Harris, 55, is the first black woman to have the number two spot on the Democratic ticket. In choosing her, Biden picked a former rival for the nomination who gained admiration for her campaign skills and was a top contender for the vice presidential nomination as soon as her own bid ended.
Biden informed supporters of his choice via text message and social media posts as speculation mounted over the past few days his choice was imminent.
‘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,’ Biden wrote on Twitter.
‘Together, with you, we’re going to beat Trump,’ read the text message from the campaign.
The two will make an appearance Wednesday in Wilmington, Delaware.
‘I’m honored to join him as our party’s nominee for Vice President, and do what it takes to make him our Commander-in-Chief,’ Harris wrote on Twitter after her announcement.
Democrats rallied around Biden’s choice with tributes to Harris pouring in from her rivals for the running mate slot and from the most famous names in the party.
‘Joe Biden nailed this decision,’ former President Barack Obama said in a statement. ‘Choosing a vice president is the first important decision a president makes.’
Obama has known Harris, who serves as a senator from California, for years. She was an early supporter of his 2008 presidential campaign and he offered her the Attorney General spot in his administration when she was California’s top cop but she turned down the chance to lead the Justice Department.
‘Joe has an ideal partner to help tackle the very real challenges America faces right now and the year ahead,’ Obama said and concluded with: ‘Now let’s go win this thing.’
At the White House however, Donald Trump called Harris ‘nasty,’ said he was surprised that Biden would pick someone who was ‘disrespectful’ to him and assailed her calling her ‘the most liberal senator.’ His campaign called her ‘phony,’ although when he was asked about that description he said ‘oh,’ suggesting he might not have been aware of the attack.
The Democratic ticket became formalized during a time of economic turmoil, racial unrest and as the coronavirus pandemic continues to ravish the country, infecting more than 5 million Americans and killing more than 150,000 people.
Trump has received poor ratings from voters in his handling of the pandemic and race relations, which many see as giving Biden an opening to win the White House. Biden leads Trump in most national polls.
Biden, in making his choice, also acknowledged that Harris was a close friend of his beloved late son Beau, who died of complications from brain cancer in 2015.
‘Back when Kamala was Attorney General, she worked closely with Beau. I watched as they took on the big banks, lifted up working people, and protected women and kids from abuse. I was proud then, and I’m proud now to have her as my partner in this campaign,’ Biden wrote on Twitter.+36
Kamala Harris was good friends with Beau Biden and she tweeted this photo of herself and Beau Biden on the anniversary of his death in May 2019
Harris was attorney general of California when Beau, Biden’s late son, was attorney general of Delaware.
In all, 11 women were considered by Biden to join him on the ticket, a mix of senators, governors, mayors and members of Congress.
Harris, the daughter of Indian and Jamaican immigrants, is considered a safe pick – a black woman whose past experience makes her qualified for the job, a compelling personal story, and a reliable member of the Democratic establishment.
A woman has never served as president or vice president. Two have been nominated as running mates on major party tickets: Democrat Geraldine Ferraro in 1984 and Republican Sarah Palin in 2008. And Hillary Clinton was the Democratic nominee in 2016. None of those campaigns were successful.
Biden’s pick was closely watched given his age. If he wins in November, Biden would be 78 when he’s inaugurated in January 2021, the oldest man to ever assume the presidency. He’s called himself a transition figure and has not fully committed to serving two terms.
Trump’s campaign has already gone on the attack against Harris.
‘She is proof that Joe Biden is an empty shell being filled with the extreme agenda of the radicals on the left,’ Trump campaign adviser Katrina Pierson said in a statement.
And President Trump slammed her during his White House press conference on Tuesday, noting her tough questioning of his Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh during that contentious confirmation hearing and he said she was ‘nasty’ to Biden during the primary.
‘She was very, very nasty,’ he said. ‘She was probably nastier even than Pocahontas to Joe Biden,’ he noted, comparing Harris to Elizabeth Warren and using his derogatory nickname for the Massachusetts senator.
‘She was very disrespectful to Joe Biden. It is hard to pick somebody that is disrespectful. She said things during the debate during the Democratic primary debates that were horrible about Sleepy Joe. And I would think that he would not have picked her,’ Trump noted, referring to the primary debate where Harris criticized Biden’s record on a school busing program.
He also pointed to what he called the ‘horrible’ way she treated Kavanaugh. ‘I thought she was the meanest, the most horrible, most disrespectful of anybody in the U.S. Senate.’
Harris, a former prosecutor, was praised by Democrats for her tough questioning of Kavanaugh during his hearing.
Trump also claimed Harris is the most liberal person in the Senate, which is not true. There are many more Democratic senators who sit to the left of her. ‘She is also known, from what I understand, as being just about the most liberal person in the U.S. Senate,’ he said.
Harris, 55, launched her career as the city’s district attorney, became California’s attorney general and moved on to the Senate in 2016 after Senator Barbara Boxer retired.
Her national profile increased when she drew on her experience as a lawyer to engage in political combat, whether it was with President Donald Trump’s officials and nominees in Senate hearings or with Biden on the Democratic debate stage.
The vetting team advising Biden – led by former Connecticut senator Chris Dodd – was reported to have ended its work on Monday.
Biden did not show his hand, joking around with reporters in public appearances over the weekend but offering no indication of who he would chose. He had spoken with all the contenders either in person or remotely due to restrictions in place by the coronavirus.
The presumptive Democratic nominee originally said he would announce his running mate the first week of August but that timeline has been pushed back.
He’s also vowed to name a woman to the ticket and pressure was on him to name a black woman, particularly in the wake of the death of George Floyd, which has seen Black Lives Matter demonstrations spring up around the country.
Hundreds of influential black leaders, celebrities and organizers sent missives to the Biden campaign asking him to chose a black woman, The Washington Post reported, and warned him he will lose the election without one by his side.
‘Failing to select a Black woman in 2020 means YOU WILL lose the election,’ read a letter more than 100 prominent black men sent to the Biden Team. ‘Vice President Biden: don’t take that risk. Black women are defining the future of politics so it’s time you let one define the future of your campaign.’
Signers include rapper Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs, radio show host Lenard McKelvey (a.k.a. Charlamagne tha God), actor Cedric Kyles (a.k.a. Cedric the Entertainer), and commentator Van Jones.
The pressure campaign on Biden increased after reports he had a one-on-one interview with Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, who is white. Also in contention was Senator Elizabeth Warren, a favorite of the left wing of the party.
Other black contenders included former National Security Adviser Susan Rice; Reps. Val Demings and Karen Bass; former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams; and Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottom.
All the women has been subject to a flood of opposition research the past few weeks with some of the coverage deemed sexist and unfair.
Vice President Mike Pence also weighed in on Harris’ entry to the race. He will debate her at the October 7 vice presidential debate, which is scheduled for Salt Lake City.
‘Let me take this opportunity to welcome her to the race,’ he said during an event in Arizona on Tuesday afternoon. ‘Congratulations. I’ll see you in Salt Lake City!’
Biden spent the weekend at his family’s beach home in Rehoboth, Delaware, but returned to Wilmington on Monday to get ready for his big announcement.
He stoked the speculation during several public sightings while out in the beach town.
On Saturday, during an impromptu bike ride where he wore a face mask, Biden was asked by a Fox News reporter whether he had picked his running.
‘Yes,’ Biden said and added he was picking the reporter. Biden staff said the former vice president was joking.
And, after attending church on Sunday, Biden was again asked if he’d made a decision.
‘Are you ready,’ he responded.