Deepa Shivaram, NBC News, August 11, 2020
Joe Biden has chosen Kamala Harris, the prominent senator from California whose political career has included many barrier-breaking moments, as his running mate, his campaign announced on Tuesday.
The decision comes more than a year after Harris, who was also a 2020 Democratic candidate, clashed with Biden over racial issues during the first primary debate. If elected, she would be the nation’s first female, first Black and first Asian American vice president.
Picking Harris, who is 55, provides the ticket with some generational diversity. Biden, 77, would be the oldest president-elect in U.S. history.
“You make a lot of important decisions as president. But the first one is who you select to be your Vice President. I’ve decided that Kamala Harris is the best person to help me take this fight to Donald Trump and Mike Pence and then to lead this nation starting in January 2021,” Biden wrote in an email from his campaign to supporters.
“I need someone working alongside me who is smart, tough, and ready to lead. Kamala is that person,” Biden wrote. “I need someone who understands the pain that so many people in our nation are suffering. Whether they’ve lost their job, their business, a loved one to this virus.”
Biden and Harris will appear together, and speak, in Biden’s home town of Wilmington, Delaware on Wednesday, the campaign said.
Harris, the only Black woman in the U.S. Senate, was elected in 2016 after serving as California’s attorney general and, before that, San Francisco district attorney. A native of Oakland, California, and the child of Jamaican and Indian immigrants, Harris has said she was inspired to attend law school after joining civil rights protests with her parents.
Because of their friendship, Harris’ attack on Biden during the first Democratic primary debate— for his record on busing and working with segregationists— came as a shock to the Biden campaign, his family and the candidate himself.
Throughout the pandemic, Harris has been living in her Washington apartment with her husband, Douglass Emhoff, an entertainment lawyer. She attended Howard University for her undergraduate degree and was a Capitol Hill intern in the very same office she occupies today.