United States Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and his recently chosen vice-presidential candidate Kamala Harris appeared together in their first in-person campaign event on Wednesday, delivering a one-two punch on the character and performance of President Donald Trump.
Biden, a 77-year-old white man, embraced the significance of naming the first Black woman to a major party’s presidential ticket, but he also focused on other attributes Harris brings to the ticket.
Biden hailed the California senator, the 55-year-old former prosecutor who a year ago excoriated Biden on a primary debate stage, as the right woman to help him defeat Trump and then lead a nation facing crises in triplicate: a pandemic, wounded economy and long-simmering reckoning with racism.
Harris, Biden declared at a high school gymnasium in his hometown of Wilmington, Delaware, is “smart, she’s tough, she’s experienced, she’s a proven fighter for the backbone of this country.”
“Kamala knows how to govern. She knows how to make the hard calls. She’s ready to do this job on day one,” he said.
Taking the stage after Biden, Harris flicked at some of the gender critiques she had faced throughout the Democratic primary, saying she was “mindful of all the ambitious women before me, whose sacrifice, determination and resilience makes my presence here today even possible.”
She then launched into an attack on Trump, lambasting him for a lack of leadership on the coronavirus pandemic.
“This is a moment of real consequence for America. Everything we care about – our economy, our health, our children, the kind of country we live in – it’s all on the line,” she said.
The understated campaign kick-off is particularly unique given Harris’s historic significance.
The Biden campaign had said it hoped to create a first public appearance that blends the momentous nature of Harris’ selection with the realities of the 2020 campaign and the gravity of the nation’s circumstances.
After speaking, Biden and Harris hosted an online fundraiser designed to let small donors get a fresh glimpse of what the Democratic presidential ticket will look like in the lead-up to election day on November 3.