Biden and Harris launch battle for “the soul of the nation”

By Jairo Mejía

New York, Aug 12 (efe-epa).- Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden presented his running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris, on Wednesday at an event in the former vice president’s native Delaware where they set out the themes of their campaign to deny Donald Trump a second term as president of the United States.

Biden, 77, recalled that Wednesday’s event at a Wilmington high school fell on the third anniversary of a white supremacist gathering in Charlottesville, Virginia, an episode he has said prompted him to run against Trump.

“I knew we were in the battle for the soul of the nation,” Biden said. “That’s when I decided to run. And I’m proud now to have Sen. Harris at my side in that battle, because she shares the same intensity I do.”

Though the campaign will officially start next week when Biden and Harris accept their party’s nominations during a largely virtual Democratic National Convention, the speeches were replete with criticism of Trump over his handling of the coronavirus pandemic and the accompanying economic crisis.

It is “because of Trump’s failure to take it seriously from the start” that the US leads all nations in both Covid-19 cases, more than 5 million, and deaths, 165,000, Harris said.

“Because of Trump’s failures of leadership our economy has taken one of the biggest hits out of all the major industrialized nations with an unemployment rate that has tripled as of today,” the California senator said.

“Joe, I’m so proud to stand with you. And I do so mindful of all the heroic and ambitious women before me whose sacrifice, determination and resilience makes my presence here today even possible,” Harris said. “I am ready to get to work.”

Biden, who served two terms as vice president under Barack Obama, the country’s first African-American president, has made Harris, the US-born daughter of Jamaican man and a woman from India, the first black woman named to a major party presidential ticket.

“I have no doubt that I picked the right person to join me as the next vice president of the United States of America,” Biden said Wednesday.

Harris “knows personally how immigrant families enrich our country as well as the challenges of what it means to grow up Black and Indian-American in the United States of America,” the former vice president said.

“And this morning, all across the nation, little girls woke up, especially little black and brown girls that feel overlooked and undervalued in their communities, but today – today – just maybe they’re seeing themselves for the first time in a new way as president and vice presidents,” Biden said.

On coronavirus, Biden promised a “comprehensive plan to meet the challenge of Covid-19 and turn the corner on this pandemic, masking, clear science-based guidance, dramatically scaling up testing, getting states and local governments the resources they need to open the schools and businesses safely. We can do this.”

Biden said that his campaign had received a record total in donations in the 24 hours since he announced Harris as his running mate.

The former vice president also cited Trump’s response to his choice.

“Donald Trump has already started his attacks, calling Kamala, ‘nasty,’ whining about how she is ‘mean’ to his appointees. It’s not a surprise because whining is what Donald Trump does best, better than any president in American history.

“Is anybody surprised that Donald Trump has a problem with a strong woman, or strong women across the board?,” Biden continued.

Before her election to the Senate in 2016, the 55-year-old Harris was district attorney in San Francisco and California’s attorney general.

A 2003 profile in the SF Weekly described Harris in terms similar to those used to characterize Obama early in his political career.

“The crowd seems fascinated by Harris, an intelligent woman of color who speaks their language, who knows their first names, and who understands that as liberals, they want to maintain law and order – but with a certain San Franciscostyle noblesse oblige,” the Weekly’s Peter Bryne wrote of the aspiring DA’s interactions with people at a fundraiser.

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