Kamala Harris accepts historic vice presidential nod
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Senator Kamala Harris accepted the Democratic nomination for vice president on Wednesday, imploring Americans to elect Joe Biden in November and accusing President Donald Trump of failed leadership that had cost lives and livelihoods during a pandemic.
Making history as the first Black woman and Asian-American on a major U.S. presidential ticket, Harris said Trump’s divisive leadership had brought the country to an “inflection point” and made a direct appeal to the party’s diverse electorate whose vote is crucial to defeat Trump on Nov. 3.
“The constant chaos leaves us adrift, the incompetence makes us feel afraid, the callousness makes us feel alone. It’s a lot,” the California senator and former prosecutor said, speaking from an events center in Biden’s hometown of Wilmington, Delaware, that was largely empty because of the coronavirus outbreak.
Former U.S. 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.
Harris’ nomination capped the third night of a party convention that has featured a crush of women headliners, moderators and speakers, showcasing the growing power of women in politics and in the Democratic Party. Biden leads Trump in opinion polls, bolstered by a big lead among women voters.
Biden, 77, would be the oldest person to become president if he is elected, leading to speculation he will serve only one term. The nomination for vice presidency would make Harris, 55, a potential top contender for 2024.
The speech by Harris served as a reintroduction to the country after her unsuccessful White House bid. Harris outlined her background as a child of immigrants from India and Jamaica who as a district attorney, state attorney general and now vice-presidential candidate shattered gender and racial barriers.