Reprinted with permission from Alternet
In their first event together as running mates, Sen. Kamala Harris and Joe Biden delivered speeches in Wilmington, Delaware, on Wednesday evening to introduce their joint campaign.
Biden spoke first, lauding Harris and emphasizing their personal connection. He noted that Harris and his late son, Beau Biden, had become close when they worked together as state attorneys general and that he considers her a member of his family.
Harris's first speech as the vice presidential pick hit all the obligatory notes. She recounted her parents' immigrant histories, focusing on how her childhood shaped her values, and she framed her career as a devotion to public service. She called out various constituency groups and key political issues of the day, praised Biden, and reflected on the possibilities for their future administration. She offered words of concern and compassion for those suffering due to the pandemic and economic crisis.
But the most notable — and arguably, most effective — portion of the speech was her sharp criticism of President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence. It offered a preview for major themes of the coming race and showed how she can wield forceful arguments against the continuance of the present administration.
"He inherited the longest economic expansion in history from Barack Obama and Joe Biden," she said of the president. "And then, like everything else he inherited, he ran it straight into the ground. Because of Trump's failures 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. This is what happens when we elect a guy who just isn't up for the job."
When other countries are following 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. 'Like a miracle.' So when other countries opened back up for business, what did we do? 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.
Harris also noted: "His flip-flopping on social distancing and wearing masks. His delusional belief that he knows better than the experts. All of that is the reason that an American dies of COVID-19 every 80 seconds."
Watch the speech below:
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