California Sen. Kamala Harris accepted the Democratic nomination for vice president on Wednesday night, imploring the country to elect Joe Biden in November and accusing President Donald Trump of failed leadership that cost lives and livelihoods during a pandemic.
Making history as the first Black woman and Asian-American on a major presidential ticket, Harris made a direct appeal to Black Americans and other crucial constituencies that Democrats need in the Nov. 3 election.
“The constant chaos leaves us adrift, the incompetence makes us feel afraid, the callousness makes us feel alone. It’s a lot,” she said, speaking from an events center in Biden’s hometown of Wilmington, Delaware, that was largely empty because of the coronavirus outbreak.
“We must elect a president… who will bring all of us together — Black, White, Latino, Asian, Indigenous — to achieve the future we collectively want. We must elect Joe Biden,” Harris said.
On the third night of a four-night convention that has featured a crush of women headliners, moderators and speakers, Harris pressed the case against Trump, saying his divisive leadership had brought the country to an “inflection point.”
Former President Barack Obama, speaking just before Harris, also delivered a sharp rebuke of his Republican successor, saying Trump had used the power of his office only to “help himself and his friends.”
Obama, whose vice president was Biden from 2009-2017, said he had hoped that Trump would take the job seriously, come to feel the weight of the office, and discover a reverence for American democracy.
“For close to four years now he has shown no interest in putting in the work… no interest in treating the presidency as anything but one more reality show that he can use to get the attention he craves,” Obama said, in unusually sharp criticism by a former president of a sitting president.
Trump issued three tweets in all capital letters during the last half of the convention program, angrily criticizing Harris and Obama and questioning their allegiance to Biden.
In her speech, Harris outlined her background as a child of immigrants from India and Jamaica who as a district attorney, state attorney general, U.S. senator from California and now vice-presidential candidate shattered gender and racial barriers.
The choice of a running mate has added significance for Biden, 77, who would be the oldest person to become president if he is elected. His age has led to speculation he will serve only one term, making Harris a potential top contender for the nomination in 2024.
Biden named Harris, 55, as his running mate last week to face incumbents Trump, 74, and Vice President Mike Pence, 61. The Republican National Convention, also largely virtual, takes place next week.
Reuters contributed to this article.
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