Former Vice President Joe Biden appeared for the first time with his newly-announced running mate Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) on Wednesday.
From a high school gymnasium in Delaware, the pair delivered fiery speeches condemning the Trump administration’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and promising a new way forward in 2021.
“She’s going to stand with me in this campaign, and all of us are going to stand up for her,” Biden said of the California senator, who broke barriers Tuesday as the first Black woman and first Asian American on a major political party’s presidential ticket. (Harris’ mother immigrated to the United States from India, and her father from Jamaica.)
Biden, whose campaign had vetted a long list of women for the vice presidential pick over several months, said he told Harris the same thing he told former President Barack Obama, when Obama asked Biden what he wanted out of the vice presidency.
“I told him I wanted to be the last person in the room before he made important decisions,” Biden recalled. “That’s what I asked Kamala.”
Biden noted that his campaign’s supporters seemed excited about the pick: The campaign set a new single-day record for online political fundraising on Tuesday, he said.
Harris, taking the stage after Biden, said she was honored by the responsibility and “ready to get to work.”
“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 — is all on the line,” she said.
Trump’s mismanagement of the pandemic, Harris said, had plunged the country into an economic crisis.
“And we’re experiencing a moral reckoning with racism and systemic injustice that has brought a new coalition of conscience to the streets of our country demanding change,” she continued.
“America is crying out for leadership,” she said. “Yet we have a president who cares more about himself than the people who elected him.”
Harris spent part of her speech recalling her friendship with the former vice president’s son, Beau, who died in 2015. The younger Biden and Harris worked together before his death, as attorneys general of Delaware and California, respectively.
“In the midst of the Great Recession, Beau and I spoke on the phone practically every day, sometimes multiple times a day” to speak about the foreclosure crisis, Harris said.
Before swearing in as a senator in 2017, Harris’ law enforcement background defined her political career, both as California’s attorney general and before that, as the district attorney in San Francisco.
On Wednesday, the senator repeated the phrase she used to kick off her own presidential campaign last year, one she used as a prosecutor: “Kamala Harris for the people.”
“Let me tell you, as somebody who has presented my fair share of arguments in court, the case against Donald Trump and Mike Pence is open and shut,” she said.
Watch Biden and Harris’ remarks below: