Democrat Joe Biden introduces running mate Kamala Harris in campaign to 'rebuild this country'

WILMINGTON, DELAWARE (AFP, REUTERS) – Democratic White House hopeful Joe Biden on Wednesday (Aug 12) introduced his vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris at their first joint appearance as an inspiring woman who would help him to “rebuild this country.”

Accusing US President Donald Trump of failing to lead during the coronavirus crisis, Biden said that he and Harris would fix “the mess that President Trump and Vice President Pence have created at home and abroad.”

The Democrat, who walked out with Harris onto the stage in his hometown of Delaware, said her historic role as only the third woman ever picked for the vice presidency by a major party was inspiring “little girls” across America.

Biden praised Harris as an experienced and accomplished governing partner who would help him deliver on his campaign agenda.

“I have no doubt that I picked the right person to join me as the next vice president of the United States of America, and that is Senator Kamala Harris,” Biden said in introducing Harris, who sat behind him on stage to watch Biden’s speech.

“She’s ready to do this job on day one. We’re both ready to get to work rebuilding this nation,” he said.

The joint appearance came just days before Biden will formally accept the Democratic presidential nomination at next week’s party convention, which will take place largely as a virtual event because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Republican convention, where President Donald Trump is set to be nominated to seek a second four-year term, follows a week later and kicks off a 10-week sprint to the Nov. 3 election.

Harris, the 55-year-old US senator from California, was announced as Biden’s choice on Tuesday after a selection process that drew extra scrutiny thanks to Biden’s age.

The 77-year-old former vice president would be the oldest president ever if he wins, raising speculation that he would not seek re-election in 2024.

Harris, the first Black woman and the first Asian American to appear on a major-party US presidential ticket, is the daughter of two immigrants, her mother from India and her father from Jamaica.

Wednesday’s event in Biden’s East Coast hometown took place on the third anniversary of the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, where violent clashes erupted as white supremacists and neo-Nazis descended on the town.

Biden has said Trump’s comment after the clashes that there were “very fine people on both sides” – which drew widespread criticism – convinced him to run for president.

In recent months, as unrest has convulsed many US cities following the May police killing of George Floyd, a Black man in Minneapolis, Harris has become a prominent voice calling for change. She has marched alongside protesters and pushed legislation to reform policing practices.

A crowd of about 75 people gathered outside in a light rain before the event to get a glimpse of Biden and Harris, holding signs and snapping pictures. Most were supporters and some chanted Harris’ name, although some were Biden opponents.

In choosing Harris, Biden selected a former rival for the nomination whose most memorable campaign moment came during a televised debate when she criticized his past position on using busing to integrate schools.

But Harris was regarded as a relatively safe choice. She is a more dynamic campaigner than Biden and will be relied upon to help energize Black voters, who represent a crucial constituency for Biden in election battleground states.

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