By Sandy Fitzgerald, Associated Press
Kamala Harris, while introducing Joe Biden to make his victory speech as president elect of the United States, lauded American voters for delivering a “clear message” by choosing “hope and unity, decency, science, and yes, truth” by choosing the former vice president as their choice for president of the United States
“I know times have been challenging, especially the last several months,” the California Democrat told a wildly cheering crowd in Wilmington, Delaware, Biden’s home. “The grief, sorrow, and pain, the worries and the struggles, but we have also witnessed your courage, your resilience and the generosity of your spirit. For four years, you marched and organized for equality and justice, for our lives and for our planet and then you voted.”
Harris further told the audience that “our very democracy was on the ballot” in the election and the “very soul of America” was at stake, and the voters “ushered in a new day for America.”
Harris lauded Biden as a “man with a big heart who loves with abandon” including with his love for his wife, Jill, and for his family, Hunter and Ashley and his grandchildren. “I first knew Joe as vice president,” she said. “I really got to know him as the father who loved Beau (Biden)”
She also lauded her husband and family, before moving on to speak about her own role in history as the first female vice president, not to mention the first Black and Asian-American to be elected.
“This is for the women who fought and sacrificed so much for equality and liberty and justice for all. Including the Black women who are often, too often overlooked, all the women who have worked to secure and protect the right to vote for over a century, 100 years ago with the 19th amendment. Fifty-five years ago with the Voting Rights Act and now in 2020,” said Harris.
“Tonight I reflect on their struggle, their determination, and the strength of their vision to see what can be unburdened by what has been, and I stand on their shoulders,” said Harris, praising Biden for his vision in breaking “one of the most substantial barriers that exist in our country and seek a woman as his vice president.”
She also promised that she will not be the last woman in the office, as “every little girl watching tonight sees that this is a country of possibilities and to the children of our country, regardless of your gender. Our country has sent you a clear message: Dream with ambition, lead with conviction, and see yourselves in a way that others may not simply because they’ve never seen it before. But know that we will applaud you every step of the way.”
Harris further promised that she will be an “loyal, honest, and prepared” vice president, like Biden was to President Barack Obama. “The road ahead will not be easy, but America is ready. And so are Joe and I,” said Harris.
Harris, at 56, is set to be sworn in not only as the first female vice president but the first Black and Indian-American vice president. But the second spot at the White House is a pinnacle for Harris, a former San Francisco district attorney and the first Black woman to serve as California’s attorney general, notes a New York Times profile of Harris.
And when Harris was elected to the Senate in 2016, she was the second-ever Black woman in the chamber’s history. Her argumentative style quickly gained notice in the Senate, particularly after she fiercely grilled witnesses during committee testimony, including during the confirmation hearings for now-Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
After their exchanges, President Donald Trump labeled the California Democrat as being “extraordinarily nasty” to Kavanaugh and called the way she treated him a “horrible thing.”
Harris is the daughter of a Jamaican father, Donald Harris, an economist and Stanford University professor and an Indian mother, scientist Shyamala Gopalan, who died in 2009 of colon cancer.
Harris’ parents divorced when she was seven years old. She also has a sister, Maya, and is married to a Jewish husband, Douglas Emhoff, who will become the first second gentleman. Her stepchildren have nicknamed her “Momala.”
Harris attended an historically black college, Howard University, before becoming a prosecutor working on domestic violence and child exploitation cases.
Her legal background as California’s attorney general has caused her political issues, including when she was running for president early in the 2020 race. However, Harris gained attention when, during an early debate, she attacked Biden’s Senate record on race.
But since then, Harris has stressed that she does support Biden and his positions, and has come under several other attacks from Trump, who has ridiculed the pronunciation of her name. After she debated Vice President Mike Pence, Trump slammed her as a “monster.”
Harris joined Biden’s ticket after the former vice-president promised to pick a female running mate. Even that came under criticism from Trump, who expressed surprise that Biden would pick a running mate who had attacked him during their presidential debate.