Washington, 12 August 2020 (dpa/MIA) – Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, has selected California Senator Kamala Harris as his running mate for the US presidential election in November.
“I have the great honour to announce that I’ve picked Kamala Harris — a fearless fighter for the little guy, and one of the country’s finest public servants — as my running mate,” Biden, himself a former vice president to Barack Obama, said in a tweet.
The 55-year-old – the daughter of a father from Jamaica and an Indian-American mother – is the first black woman and first Asian-American to be nominated by a major US party.
Harris is also the fourth woman to be on a major party’s presidential ticket and, if elected, would be the nation’s first female vice president.
Biden cited Harris’ experience as attorney general of California, where she “worked closely” with his deceased son Beau Biden, the former attorney general of Delaware.
The announcement followed a months-long search for a vice presidential candidate who could bolster the Democratic ticket during a tense election year taking place amid the coronavirus pandemic and a national debate on race.
Harris ran her own campaign for president and had several contentious exchanges with Biden during the primary debates.
She criticized Biden for having worked with segregationists during his years in the Senate, and for opposing school busing during the 1970s, a practice used to reduce segregation in schools.
Harris abandoned her campaign in December 2019, however, and threw her weight behind the former vice president.
Following Biden‘s announcement, Harris tweeted that she is “honored” to join the 77-year-old as the party’s nominee for vice president and that she will “do what it takes to make him our Commander-in-Chief.”
Seveal high-profile members of the Democratic party also expressed their support for Biden‘s choice. Former president Barack Obama said that Harris is “more than prepared for the job.”
“She’s spent her career defending our Constitution and fighting for folks who need a fair shake. This is a good day for our country. Now let’s go win this thing,” Obama tweeted.
Hillary Clinton, who ran against Trump for president in 2016 and was first female presidential nominee of a major US political party, said she was “thrilled” about the decision to choose Harris.
“She’s already proven herself to be an incredible public servant and leader. And I know she’ll be a strong partner to [Biden],” Clinton tweeted. “Please join me in having her back and getting her elected.”
Former US ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice, who was also floated as a potential candidate for vice president, congratulated Harris and said she is confident that “Biden-Harris will prove to be a winning ticket.”
“I will do my utmost to help them win and govern,” Rice tweeted.
Harris has faced some backlash from the left-leaning wing of the Democratic party over her years as California’s top prosecutor, with critics accusing her pursuing harsh policies that fuelled mass incarceration.
President Donald Trump immediately tweeted a video attacking Harris for being too left-leaning, highlighting her call for healthcare reform.
“So she was my number one pick,” Trump said during a press conference, adding that Harris is “the most horrible, most disrespectful of anybody in the US Senate.”
The Trump campaign also issued a statement that painted Harris as radically left-wing.
“Joe Biden is no moderate, and with Harris as his ‘political living will,’ he is surrendering control of our nation to the radical mob with promises to raise taxes, cut police funding, kill energy jobs, open our borders, and appease socialist dictators,” the Trump campaign statement reads.
Biden has called himself “a bridge” to a new generation of Democratic leaders, leading some to believe that he could be a one-term president and that Harris would be his successor.