At a school gymnasium in Wilmington, Delaware, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and his newly-minted running mate Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) spent their first public joint appearance mostly attacking President Donald Trump, as reported by The Hill.
In a callback to the very first video message that launched his campaign, Biden on Wednesday once again repeated the falsehood that President Trump supposedly endorsed neo-Nazis following a march in August 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia. At the rally in question, Antifa and other far-left groups attacked largely peaceful right-wing demonstrators who were protesting the proposed removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee.
Although there were radical Communist elements in the left-wing group and a small handful of white nationalists in the right-wing crowd, President Trump acknowledged that there were “fine people on both sides” of the broader debate that was at the source of the incident, though he did explicitly condemn the neo-Nazi imagery that was displayed by some on the right that day. Biden, however, openly declared all of the marchers to be “neo-Nazis,” and compared the incident to “Hitler’s Germany in [the] ’30s.”
Biden then touted Harris’s status as a black woman and the daughter of immigrants (an Indian mother and a Jamaican father). Biden even went so far as to essentially argue that the main selling point of his campaign now was to see Harris’s inauguration as vice president rather than his own. He described his running mate as knowing “how to govern, how to make the hard calls, and ready to do the job on day one.”
Already preparing the tactic of accusing anyone who criticizes Harris of being sexist, Biden rhetorically asked “is anyone surprised Donald Trump has a problem with strong women?”
“This morning, all across the nation,” Biden went on, “little black and brown girls who so often feel overlooked may just see themselves for the first time in a new way as the stuff of presidents and vice presidents.”
Biden eventually handed the microphone over to his running mate, who remained six feet away from him on stage in the empty gym. Harris then went on to make her own dubious claims against President Trump, including the charge that he “inherited the longest economic expansion in history from Barack Obama and . . . ran it straight into the ground.”
Harris also accused Trump of “mismanaging” the coronavirus pandemic, and that mismanagement leading to “the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression”—even though it was Democrats who vigorously supported the economic shutdown efforts while President Trump wanted to keep the economy open.
The event started one hour later than originally anticipated after a power outage hit the gymnasium, which ultimately left Biden and Harris without any air conditioning as they spoke. The campaign video that was released supposedly depicting Biden and Harris’s first Zoom video call, in which he formally offered her the nomination, was widely criticized for its awkward exchanges and the fact that Biden could be clearly seen reading from a script in front of him as he spoke to her.
Campaigning has still been limited by the Democrats’ strict adherence to lockdown restrictions, and future public events with Biden and Harris between now and the Democratic National Convention next week are unlikely.
Harris had already been officially listed as a speaker at the convention with her own slot before she was announced as Biden’s running mate. Other speakers at the virtual convention will include Bill and Hillary Clinton, and Barack and Michelle Obama.