Biden, running mate Harris put hammer down on Trump during first joint appearance
WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) — Former Vice President Joe Biden and California Sen. Kamala Harris delivered an aggressive one-two attack on the character and performance of President Donald Trump Wednesday during their first appearance as running mates.
Biden, 77, pitched his former primary rival as a smart, tenacious figure who will help him defeat Trump in November. The 55-year-old Harris is making history as the first black woman on a national major party ticket.
Harris, who received donations from Trump in her campaigns to become California attorney general, is “smart, she’s tough, she’s experienced, she’s a proven fighter for the backbone of this country,” Biden said.
“Kamala knows how to govern. She knows how to make the hard calls. She’s ready to do this job on day one,” Biden said in a high school gym in his hometown of Wilmington.
Reflecting the coronavirus pandemic, both candidates came onstage wearing protective masks in front of a small audience instead of a hall filled with cheering supporters, as would normally be the case.
Biden praised Harris’ experience in vigorously questioning Trump administration officials in the Senate. He also highlighted the historic nature choosing her as his running mate, noting that she’s the daughter of immigrants from India and Jamaica.
“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. But today, today, just maybe, they’re seeing themselves for the first time in a new way,” Biden said.
Taking the stage after Biden, Harris said she is “mindful of all the ambitious women before me, whose sacrifice, determination and resilience makes my presence here today even possible.”
She lambasted Trump 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.
Biden and Harris showed clear affection toward one another, with Biden calling her an “honorary Biden” and Harris offering an emotional tribute to his son Beau, with whom she was a friend when both served as attorneys general.
Biden seemed overcome with emotion as Harris spoke of Beau, who died in 2015, as “the best of us” and a man who modeled himself after his father.
She signaled that she’ll offer a vigorous defense of Biden’s qualifications on issues of race and civil rights, though she made headlines for assailing him for his past opposition to federally mandated busing during a primary debate last year.
Democrats see Harris as appealing to progressives, mainstream liberals, some independents and Republicans unhappy with Trump.
The president and his allies are attempting to cast her as too left wing for the country.
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