Joe Biden has elected Kamala Harris, the prominent senator from California, whose political career has included many moments of setbacks, as his run-up husband, his campaign announced on Tuesday.
The decision comes more than a year after Harris, who was also a 2020 Democratic candidate, clashed with Biden over racial issues during the first primary debate. If elected, she would be the first female, first black and first Asian American vice president.
Picking Harris, who is 55, provides the ticket with a generative variety. Biden, 77, would be the oldest elected president in U.S. history.
The announcement by Biden carries speculation for weeks and is Biden’s biggest decision to date as the alleged Democratic candidate, a detail that Biden himself noted in his announcement.
“You make a lot of important decisions as president. But the first one is the one you choose to be your Vice President. I have decided that Kamala Harris is the best person to help me get this fight to Donald Trump and Mike Pence and then to lead this nation starting in January 2021, “Biden wrote in an email from his campaign to supporters.
“I need someone who works alongside me, who is smart, tough and willing to lead. Kamala is that person,” he wrote. “I need someone who understands the pain that so many people in our country suffer. Regardless of whether they have lost their job, their business, a loved one for this virus.”
“This president says he does not want to be distracted by it. He does not understand that caring for the people of this nation – all people – is not a distraction – it’s the job,” Biden continued. “Kamala understands this. I need someone who understands that we are in a battle for the soul of this nation. And that if we are to overcome these crises – we must unite and unite for a better America. Kamala gets that. “
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Harris, in a tweet, said she was “honored” to join Biden “as our party’s candidate for Vice President, and to do what it takes to make him Commander-in-Chief.”
Biden and Harris will appear together and speak in Biden’s hometown of Wilmington, Delaware, on Wednesday, the campaign said.
Harris, the only Black woman in the U.S. Senate, was elected in 2016 after serving as California attorney general and, before that, San Francisco District attorney. A native of Oakland, California, and the child of Jamaican and Indian immigrants, Harris has said she was inspired to attend law school after joining civil rights protests with her parents.
“She has been a warrior and a principled leader and I know because I saw her up close and I saw her in the trenches,” Biden told Harris at a virtual fundraiser in June.
As attorney general, Harris worked closely with Biden’s late son, Beau Biden, when he was Delaware attorney general, particularly in challenging the big banks after the housing crisis. In her book, The Truths We Carry: An American Journey, Harris says the couple “talked every day, sometimes many times a day.”
Because of their friendship, Harris’s attack on Biden during the first Democratic primary debate over his bus record and working with segregationists came as a shock to Biden’s campaign, his family and the candidate himself.
“I was prepared for them to come after me, but I was not prepared for the person who came to me as he came to me. She knew Beau, she knows me,” Biden said in an interview later that summer. . He said Harris had “mischaracterized” his position.
The surprise and quick reaction of this debate moment in Miami was even more in the mind for Biden’s wife, Jill, most recently in March. Jill Biden said in a virtual fundraiser, “Our son Beau talked so much about him and, you know, and how great he was. And not that he’s not like that. I’m not saying that. “It was a little unexpected.”
The Trump campaign erupted at that moment shortly after Biden’s announcement in a freshly cut ad – which Trump himself tweeted moments after the announcement – that Harris allegedly attacked “Biden for racist policies” and slammed the duo as “Slow Joe and Phony Kamala “.
Both Biden and Harris allies have acknowledged that, in the months since she left the race, Harris had given her full support to Biden’s campaign. She has often campaigned for Biden, holding fundraiser with the candidate and holding roundtables on issues such as racial inequalities in coronavirus cases, and advocating for the Beneficial Care Act. In a virtual fundraiser in June, she raised $ 3.5 million for the campaign.
Harris was praised for questioning Attorney General Bill Barr and Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh during their respective confirmation hearings, highlighting her record as a prosecutor.
But that record, especially on issues like marijuana convictions and veracity, has also been a source of criticism, especially from younger, more progressive voters.
Biden made the public choice a few weeks later considering several other women for the job. Other key competitors included former National Security Adviser Susan Rice, Senator Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass. And Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.
Former President Barack Obama praised the election as “Biden’s ideal partner to help him take on the very real challenges facing America now and in the years to come.”
“Joe Biden nailed this decision,” Obama said in a statement.
Many of the women who had been considered for the job also offered their congratulations to Harris after Biden made his choice known.
“Senator Harris is a strong and vague leader who will make an excellent partner on the campaign path. I’m sure Biden-Harris will prove to be a winning ticket,” Rice said in a statement.
Warren tweeted that Harris would be an “excellent partner” of Biden.
Other senior Democrats also offered praise for the election.
“The appointment of Senator Kamala Harris as Joe Biden as the Democratic candidate for vice president marks a historic and proud moment for our country,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif, said in a statement. “As Vice President of the United States, Senator Harris will continue her legacy of leadership undoubtedly to move our country forward.”
Democratic presidential candidate 2016 Hillary Clinton tweeted that she was “exciting to welcome @KamalaHarris on a historic Democratic ticket” and praised her as an “extraordinary public servant and leader.”
Another former Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., Tweeted that Harris “understands what it takes to get jobs for working people, to fight for health care for all, and to remove the most corrupt administration in history.”
Prominent democratic groups also applauded the election.
“Today is a spark of hope and a watershed moment for women and women in black. “Kamala Harris – a Jamaican-American and Native American woman – as vice president is nothing short of historic,” said Aimee Allison, Founder of That People.
“Senator Kamala Harris is nothing short of an extraordinary election for vice president,” said Human Rights Campaign president Alphonso David.
Harris had faced backlash in recent weeks from some of Biden’s allies, who said the former presidential candidate was too ambitious – criticism that many were quick to point out was sexist.
“Our campaign is full of ambitious women going for Joe Biden,” Biden campaign manager Jen O’Malley Dillon said in a tweet. “Whoever he chooses from the highly skilled options to help him win and unite the country, it will also be one.”
Harris responded during a virtual conference with Black Girls Rock earlier this month.
“There will be resistance to your ambition,” she said. “There will be people who will tell you, you are out of your lane. But do not let that burden you.”
Harris ended her presidential bid in December, followed by fundraising problems and power struggling reports in the top leadership of her campaign.
Throughout the pandemic, Harris lived in her Washington apartment with her husband, Douglass Emhoff, an entertainment attorney. She attended Howard University for her undergraduate degree and was an intern at Capitol Hill in the same office she occupies today.