Vice president-elect Kamala Harris exulted in the magnitude of the moment on Saturday as she and Joe Biden claimed victory in the presidential race over incumbent Donald Trump, who has refused to back down from his claims of widespread voting fraud despite the lack of evidence of coordinated illegal activity.
Harris spoke in highly personal terms and she spoke as a seasoned political leader as she gave the introductory remarks to her running mate’s presidential acceptance speech. The Biden/Harris campaign organized a “drive-in” rally of about 400 supporters in his home base of Wilmington, Del., to deliver the celebratory remarks that were delayed for four days by vote-counting in states where the thin margins between Biden and his Republican opponent.
Harris noted the milestones of her ascendency in politics, where she now ranks as the first woman, first black woman and first woman of South Asian descent to be elected to the executive branch as VP.
“While I may be the first woman in this office, I won’t be the last,” she vowed. “Because every little girl watching tonight sees that this is a country of possibilities.”
She cited her mother’s belief in upward mobility as part of the promise of America and the fact that the historic Biden-Harris ticket won the White House in the year that American women marked the centennial of suffrage.
“I’m thinking about her and about the generations of women — Black Women. Asian, White, Latina, and Native American women throughout our nation’s history who have paved the way for this moment tonight,” Harris said. “Women who fought and sacrificed so much for equality, liberty, and justice for all, including the Black women, who are too often overlooked, but so often prove that they are the backbone of our democracy.”
Harris praised the influence of everyday people who became more engaged in public life during the last four years out of fear and frustration at the Trump administration’s radical agenda.
“For four years, you marched and organized for equality and justice, for our lives, and for our planet. And then, you voted. You delivered a clear message,” she said. “You chose hope, unity, decency, science, and, yes, truth. And when our very democracy was on the ballot in this election, with the very soul of America at stake, and the world watching, you ushered in a new day for America.
Harris praised her new boss as “a healer, a uniter. A tested and steady hand.” Looking ahead, she vowed the new administration would attack the public health and economic challenges of the pandemic as well as the need to “root out systemic racism in our justice system and society” and tackle climate change concerns.
Like Biden, Harris made a point of calling for unity and national healing after the unusual coarseness of the past few years.
“No matter who you voted for, I will strive to be the vice president that Joe was to President Obama — loyal, honest, and prepared, waking up every day thinking of you and your families,” she said. “Because now is when the real work begins.”