California Sen. Kamala Harris reintroduced herself to America at the Democratic National Convention Wednesday night, taking aim at President Trump as she celebrated her running mate, Joe Biden.
Harris, a former San Francisco district attorney and California attorney general, spoke about her time as a prosecutor and about growing up in the Bay Area as the daughter of immigrants. She also zeroed in on Trump’s character, implying that he is a “predator” in a line she has used on the campaign trail before.
“I’ve fought for children and survivors of sexual assault. I’ve fought against transnational gangs. I took on the biggest banks and helped take down one of the biggest for-profit colleges. I know a predator when I see one,” she said.
Harris also spoke of her friendship with former Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden, the late son of Joe Biden.
“Joe’s son, Beau, and I served as attorneys general of our states, Delaware and California. During the Great Recession, we spoke on the phone nearly every day, working together to win back billions of dollars for homeowners from the big banks that foreclosed on people’s homes,” Harris said as she formally accepted the Democratic nomination for vice president.
Joe Biden talked about Harris’s relationship with his son earlier this month, calling her an “honorary Biden” shortly after he announced she would be his running mate.
In her convention speech, Harris slammed Trump’s pandemic response as an absolute failure. As of Wednesday, more than 170,000 Americans had died of the virus.
“The constant chaos leaves us adrift. The incompetence makes us feel afraid. The callousness makes us feel alone. It’s a lot. And here’s the thing: We can do better and deserve so much more,” said Harris.
Harris highlighted disparities in how the virus has affected different racial groups. African-Americans, in particular, are significantly more likely to suffer serious complications from the virus than white people. She also spoke of Black people who have been killed by police in recent months, events that have triggered massive protests nationwide.
“This virus, it has no eyes – and yet it knows exactly how we see each other and how we treat each other. And let’s be clear, there is no vaccine for racism. We’ve got to do the work. For George Floyd, for Breonna Taylor, for the lives of too many others to name,” Harris says.
Harris added: “While this virus touches us all, let’s be honest, it is not an equal-opportunity offender. Black, Latino and indigenous people are suffering and dying disproportionately. This is not a coincidence. It is the effect of structural racism.”
During the primary, Harris was unable to make a lasting impression with voters and dropped out before the first contests in Iowa and New Hampshire. But since Biden chose her to be his running mate, Harris has proven popular, with 21 percent of registered voters in the latest Yahoo News/YouGov poll saying her selection made them more likely to vote for the Democratic ticket.
The third night of the Democratic convention focused largely on issues such as immigration, gun violence, climate change, domestic violence and more. Harris’s speech was preceded by remarks from women party leaders, including former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.
Harris’s nomination takes a hammer to several proverbial glass ceilings. She’s the first Asian-American and the first Black woman to be tapped for a major party ticket.
As she wrapped up her address, Harris called on the Democratic faithful to vote this November, saying that their call to action would be remembered by history.
“Years from now, this moment will have passed. And our children and our grandchildren will look in our eyes and ask us: Where were you when the stakes were so high? They will ask us, what was it like?
And we will tell them. We will tell them not just how we felt. We will tell them what we did.”
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