Biden and Harris make first appearance as running mates


Joe Biden and Kamala Harris have accused Donald Trump of leaving the US “in tatters” by failing to lead the country through the coronavirus pandemic and its economic fallout, as they debuted the Democratic presidential ticket, the party hopes will defeat him in November’s election.

Joseph R. Biden Jr. and Kamala Harris, former political rivals, used their first public appearance as running mates on the Democratic ticket to stand unified against President Trump.

In her first official appearance as Mr Biden’s vice-presidential pick, Ms Harris, a former prosecutor, repeatedly assailed Mr Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic and the economic upheaval it has caused.

READ ALSO: Joe Biden names Kamala Harris as his running mate

“As somebody who has presented my fair share of arguments in court, the case against Donald Trump and Mike Pence is open and shut,” Ms Harris said.

The appearance, held at Alexis I. DuPont High School in Wilmington, Del., offered the first indication of how Mr Biden and Ms Harris, two Democrats from opposite coasts and different generations, would fuse their messages as they sought to unseat Mr Trump this fall.

The two cast themselves as the right pair to guide a nation that has been upended in recent months, both by the virus and by nationwide protests over racial inequality and police brutality.

“This is a moment of real consequence for America,” Ms Harris said. “Everything we care about, our economy, our health, our children, the kind of country we live in, it’s all on the line.”

Throughout his campaign, Mr Biden has repeatedly emphasized his experience working with former President Barack Obama as a chief strength of his.

In her remarks on Wednesday, Ms Harris also pointed to that legacy.

Mr Trump, she said, “inherited the longest economic expansion in history, from Barack Obama and Joe Biden. And then, like everything else he inherited, he ran it straight into the ground.”

As Ms Harris repeatedly criticized Mr Trump’s handling of the coronavirus, which has claimed more than 165,000 Americans’ lives, she contrasted it with Mr Obama and Mr Biden’s management during the much smaller Ebola outbreak in 2014.

“That is what’s called leadership,” she said. “But compare that to the moment we find ourselves in now.”

The event also marked a significant first, with Ms Harris taking to the stage as the first Black woman and the first person of Indian descent to be nominated for national office by a major political party.

As he introduced Ms Harris as his running mate for the first time, Mr Biden leaned heavily on the qualities that set her apart and added diversity to the Democratic ticket. He presented her as a historic candidate and someone whose background reflected a diversifying country.

“This morning, all across the nation, little girls woke up, especially little Black and brown girls, who so often feel overlooked and undervalued in their communities,” Mr Biden said. “But today just maybe they’re seeing themselves for the first time in a new way: as the stuff of president and vice presidents.”

Mr Biden and Ms Harris also presented themselves as better able than Mr Trump to respond to the national debate over systemic racism and criminal justice that emerged after the death of George Floyd in May.

Mr Biden noted that the pair’s public appearance marked the third anniversary of a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va., in which a young anti-racism activist was killed by a white supremacist who plowed his car down a narrow street packed with people.

He said that Mr Trump’s insistence after the killing that “both sides” were to blame for the violence motivated his presidential run.

“I knew we were in the battle for the soul of the nation,” Mr Biden said. “That’s when I decided to run. And I am proud now to have Senator Harris at my side.”

Mr Biden, who has said in the past that he wanted a vice president with whom he was “simpatico” also stressed that he and Ms Harris shared similar values and ideals that would guide their campaign.

“One of the reasons that I chose Kamala is that we both believe that we can define America simply in one word: possibilities,” he said.


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