The presumptive US presidential candidate from the Democratic party, Joe Biden, and his newly-picked running mate, Kamala Harris, held their first joint campaign event on Wednesday, which was streamed online but restricted in the real world to a handful of attendees due to the coronavirus pandemic, with social distancing between the candidates.
The event marked their first appearance together, after Biden announced Harris as his running mate, marking her as the first Black woman to be named a US vice presidential candidate for a major political party.
The two exchanged compliments with each other without elaborating on policy, primarily stressing how they contrast with incumbent President Donald Trump. They also restated their commitment to win against Trump in the upcoming presidential election.
“We need more than a victory on 3 November. We need a mandate that proves that the past few years do not represent who we are or who we aspire to be. Joe likes to say that character is on the ballot. And it’s true", Harris said during her speech.
Harris added that "we don’t have to accept the failed government of Donald Trump and Mike Pence", and referred to election day as a "chance to choose a better future for our country".
Biden praised his vice presidential candidate as "smart" and "tough", adding that "her story is America's story", referring to her parent's immigrant roots. He also revealed that his decision was impacted by his now-deceased son Beau's friendship with Harris. His running mate then honored Beau Biden as "the guy who inspired people to be a better version of themselves".
"And when I asked him 'where'd you get that?' He'd always talk about his dad", Harris said.
Biden took shots at Trump, who earlier had described Harris as "nasty" and "mean". The former vice president vowed to stand up for his running mate, taking a dig at Trump by asking: "Is anyone surprised Trump has a problem with a strong woman?"
The two Democratic candidates did not waste time in addressing Trump's "attacks", with Harris lashing out at POTUS, detailing the Republican president as "the reason" for the pandemic spanning the United States.
"He inherited the longest economic expansion in history from Barack Obama and Joe Biden — and then, like everything else he inherited, he ran it straight into the ground," she said.
Biden referred to working families, implying that they "need someone on their side, because they certainly don’t have anyone on their side with this president".
"If you’re worried about whether you’ll have a job, worried about the poisons in the air you breathe and water you drink, worried about your civil rights or even your basic dignity being under attack—Kamala Harris has had your back. Now, we have to have hers", Biden said.
Candidate Biden addressed the black community, recalling that "white supremacists descended on Charlottesville with torches in hand and hate in their hearts" and pointed out that Trump referred to the chanting racists as "very fine people" a reference to Trump's comments on the Unite the Right rally, in which he suggested that, among the participants there were "very bad people" and "very fine people".
Appealing to "black and brown girls", Biden noted that they might now have woken up "potentially seeing themselves in a new way".
"This morning, little girls woke up across this nation — especially Black and Brown girls who so often may feel overlooked and undervalued in our society — potentially seeing themselves in a new way: As the stuff of Presidents and Vice Presidents", he said.
Trump later spoke to the press at the White House, shortly after the first Biden-Harris campaign event, stating that he only watched "moments" of them speaking and lashing out at Harris for "insulting" Biden during the Democratic primaries. Trump mentioned that Harris believed Tara Reade's accusation of sexual assault against Biden, adding, "now she is running to be vice president, saying how wonderful he is".
"There was nobody more insulting to Biden than she was," suggested Trump, adding, "she said far worse things about Biden than I ever did - and now she's running as vice president".
With 83 days before the election, tensions are heating up between the presumptive candidates, who are yet to be officially announced during the national conventions of both parties scheduled for the middle of August. On 29 September, the first presidential debate will be held, followed by a debate between the two vice presidential candidates on 7 October and two final presidential debates in late October.
The two sharply-opposed camps will clash in the final electoral battle for the Oval Office on 3 November, with Trump running for reelection on the Republican party ticket with his vice president, Mike Pence.