Kamala Harris takes aim at Trump in first speech as Biden’s running mate


Kamala Harris said Donald Trump “cares more about himself than the people who elected him” in her first appearance as Joe Biden’s running mate.

The Democratic candidate for vice president criticised President Trump’s handling of the economy and the coronavirus pandemic in her speech in Wilmington, Delaware, on Wednesday.

The California senator, who is the first black woman on a major presidential ticket in US history, said Mr Trump had “inherited the longest economic expansion in history from Barack Obama and Joe Biden” but “ran it straight into the ground”.

Ms Harris said later: “Everything we care about, our economy, our health, our children, the kind of country we live in, it’s all on the line. We’re reeling from the worst public health crisis in a century.

“The president’s mismanagement of the pandemic has plunged us into the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.”

Kamala Harris criticised Donald Trump's record on the economy
Kamala Harris criticised Donald Trump’s record on the economy

The 55-year-old spoke after the Democratic presidential candidate Mr Biden introduced her as a “smart” and “tough” woman who is a “proven fighter for the backbone of this country”.

He added: “Kamala knows how to govern. She knows how to make the hard calls. She’s ready to do this job on day one.”

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Ms Harris said she and Mr Biden were “cut from the cloth” during her speech as emphasised how she puts family first.

She said: “I’ve had a lot of titles over my career and certainly vice president will be great. But ‘Momala’ will always be the one that means the most.”

Joe Biden praised Ms Harris as a 'tough' women as he spoke first
Joe Biden praised Ms Harris as a ‘tough’ women as he spoke first

She said later: “America is crying out for leadership. Yet we have a president who cares more about himself than the people who elected him.

“A president who is making every challenge we face even more difficult to solve.

“But here’s the good news. We don’t have to accept the failed government of Donald Trump and Mike Pence.

“In just 83 days we have a chance to choose a better future for our country.”

Ms Harris went on to criticise Mr Trump’s handling of the coronavirus crisis and said: “When other countries followed the science, Trump pushed miracle cures he saw on Fox News. While other countries were flattening the curve, he said the virus would just ‘poof, go away’.

“So when other countries opened back up for business… we had to shut down again. This virus has impacted almost every country, but there’s a reason it has hit America worse than any other advanced nation.

“It’s because of Trump’s failure to take it seriously from the start.”

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Ms Harris was selected as Mr Biden’s running mate months after her presidential campaign collapsed amid questions over her political identity.

Mr Biden had been pressed to select a woman of colour as his running mate as the US is in the midst of a reckoning over its history of racial injustice.

Ms Harris could become the US’ first black and Indian female vice president if Mr Biden’s campaign is successful.

Her father immigrated to the states from Jamaica to study economics and her mother emigrated from India.

Who is Kamala Harris?

Although a first-time senator, the 55-year-old quickly became a top contender for the number two spot after running her own White House campaign.

Ms Harris has declared herself a “progressive prosecutor” who backs law enforcement reforms.

Born in Oakland to a Jamaican father and Indian mother, Ms Harris won her first election in 2003 when she became San Francisco’s district attorney.

In that time, she created a re-entry programme for low-level drug offenders and cracked down on student truancy.

She was elected California’s attorney general in 2010, making her the first woman and black person to hold the job.

In 2016, she was elected to the Senate and built a reputation around her work as a prosecutor.

Ms Harris gained attention for her forensic questioning of Trump administration officials and launched her presidential campaign early last year with the slogan “Kamala Harris For the People”, referencing her work in the courtroom.

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