vision 2020

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris Appear Together for First Time as Running Mates

Photo: Biden Campaign/Adam Schultz Hand

Though the pandemic prevented the 2020 Democratic ticket from celebrating the vice-presidential announcement with a rally, on Wednesday Joe Biden and his VP-nominee Kamala Harris appeared in public as running mates for the first time. At the A.I. du Pont High School in Wilmington, Delaware, the pair stood before a socially-distant group of reporters in the school’s gym, going through the campaign tradition without the benefit of applause lines. After Biden thanked the “women leaders” who he considered for the position, he said, “I have no doubt that I picked the right person to join me.”

Biden portrayed his VP nominee as a veteran politician “ready to do this job on day one,” citing her time as attorney general of California and her notable questioning of Trump administration officials and nominees. He also highlighted her experience as the daughter of Indian and Jamaican immigrants. “Her story’s America’s story, different from mine in many particulars, but also, not so different in the essentials,” Biden said. “She’s worked hard. She’s never backed down from a challenge.” He also derided President Trump’s attacks on Harris yesterday, in which he called her “nasty,” asking, “Is anyone surprised Donald Trump has a problem with strong women?”

The former vice-president then detailed the importance of the coming election, calling it a “battle of the soul of the nation,” and adding that he was “proud now to have Senator Harris at my side in that battle.” After Biden introduced his pick, Harris said she was “incredibly honored” by the decision, and that she was “ready to get to work.” Harris praised her running mate, describing how her first experiences with Biden were through his late son, Beau, as the two both served as state attorneys general during the Obama administration. “He is someone who never asks, ‘Why is this happening to me?’” and instead asks, ‘What can I do to make life better for you?’” Harris said of Biden. “His empathy, his compassion, his sense of duty to care for others, is why I am so proud to be on this ticket.”

Harris then compared the leadership of Obama and Biden during the 2014 ebola crisis against that of Trump and Vice-President Mike Pence during the coronavirus pandemic. “When other countries are following the science, Trump pushed miracle cures he saw on Fox News,” she said. “Like everything else he inherited he ran it straight into the ground.” After calling for a new Voting Rights Act named after the late Representative John Lewis, Harris said the civil-rights struggle was the reason Biden “got into public service,” adding that “today he takes his place in America’s ongoing march toward justice and equality as the only [person] to serve alongside the first Black president and the first Black woman chosen as vice-president.”

Biden and Harris Appear for First Time as 2020 Running Mates