WASHINGTON — Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee and former vice president Joe Biden has selected Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., to be his running mate.
Harris was sworn in as a Senator in 2017 and she was the second African-American woman and first South Asian-American senator in history. She was also California Attorney General, doing so at the same time Biden’s late son, Beau Biden, held the same post in Delaware.
She has been a lifelong public safety and civil rights leader who currently serves on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, the Select Committee on Intelligence, the Committee on the Judiciary and the Committee on the Budget.
Biden made the announcement official in a text message sent to his supporters and then tweeted out the news.
"I have the great honor to announce that I've picked @KamalaHarris - a fearless fighter for the little guy, and one of the country's finest public servants - as my running mate," Biden tweeted.
In her first public statement since Biden named her as his vice presidential running mate, Harris said she’s “honored” to join the Democrats’ presumptive presidential nominee on the party’s November ticket.
Harris said on Twitter that Biden “can unify the American people because he’s spent his life fighting for us.” She said Biden would build a country that “lives up to our ideals.”
President Barack Obama said in a statement that picking a vice president is the "first important decision a president makes" and Biden "nailed this decision."
"By choosing Senator Kamala Harris as America's next vice president, he's underscored his own judgement and character," Obama said.
During a fundraising event for Biden in April, several months after she dropped out of the race for the White House, Harris blasted President Donald Trump as a “complete failure” and, in an effusive introduction, asserting that Biden would be the right president at a time when people “need to have hope ... need to have faith.” The former vice president responded in kind, praising Harris for running a “helluva race” and reminding attendees that “we go back a long way.”
Seemingly teasing the running mate chatter, Biden added: “I’m so lucky to have you be a part of this partnership going forward. Working together, we can make a great deal of progress. ... I’m coming for you, kid.”
Biden's campaign website was quickly updated after Tuesday's announcement.
In a statement, the Trump campaign called Harris "phony" and accused her of "gleefully" embracing "the left's radical manifesto" during her presidential campaign.
“Joe Biden is no moderate, and with Harris as his ‘political living will,’ he is surrendering control of our nation to the radical mob with promises to raise taxes, cut police funding, kill energy jobs, open our borders, and appease socialist dictators. At the ballot box, Americans will resoundingly reject the abysmal failures of Biden-Harris in favor of the America First strength of President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence,” Trump 2020 senior advisor Katrina Pierson said in a statement.
Biden has said previously that Harris, the daughter of Indian and Jamaican immigrants, is qualified to be president or vice president and noted that the former prosecutor could be an able attorney general or Supreme Court justice.
Biden seemed prepared to talk with reporters about Harris during an event on July 28. As he took questions, the notes that he was holding were captured by an Associated Press photographer. Harris' name was scrawled across the top, followed by five talking points:
"Do not hold grudges"
“Campaigned with me & Jill"
"Great help to campaign"
“Great respect for her”
Those are all observations Biden has made about Harris before. But they took on new significance following a recent Politico report that one of Biden's closest friends and a co-chair of his vice presidential vetting committee, former Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd, still harbors concerns about Harris' tough debate stage performance against Biden and that she hasn't expressed regret.
The comments attributed to Dodd have drawn condemnation, especially from influential Democratic women who maintain that Harris is being held to a standard that wouldn’t apply to a man running for president.
The debate-stage skirmish in June 2019 was one of the seminal moments of the Democratic primary. Harris, who is Black, said Biden made “very hurtful” comments about his past work with segregationist senators before she slammed his opposition to busing as schools began to integrate.
“There was a little girl in California who was a part of the second class to integrate her public schools, and she was bused to school every day,” she said. “And that little girl was me.”
At the time, Biden called her comments “a mischaracterization of my position.”
Their relationship has become considerably more amicable. Biden has praised Harris publicly many times and noted that he’s thought highly of her personally and professionally.