Joe Biden picks Kamala Harris as his presidential running mate

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden has selected Kamala Harris as his running mate in the upcoming US election. She becomes the first black woman on a major presidential ticket in US history.

Ms Harris tweeted on Tuesday: “@JoeBiden can unify the American people because he’s spent his life fighting for us. And as president, he’ll build an America that lives up to our ideals.

“I’m honored to join him as our party’s nominee for Vice President, and do what it takes to make him our Commander-in-Chief.”

Sky News correspondent Sally Lockwood, who is in Washington DC, said: “This is a historic moment and many said that Kamala Harris was the obvious frontrunner, she was the obvious candidate.

“It does seem that Joe Biden agrees. She is the first black female running mate for the two major parties, and only the third female running mate for the two major parties in American history.”

In choosing Ms Harris, Mr Biden is embracing a former rival from the Democratic primary who is familiar with the pressures of a national campaign.

Ms Harris’ presidential campaign collapsed months ago amid questions over her political identity.

Mr Biden had been pressed to select a woman of colour as his running mate as the US is in the midst of a reckoning over its history of racial injustice.

Ms Harris, who became just the second black woman elected to the Senate, is one of the Democratic Party’s most prominent figures.

The California senator did anything but keep a low profile while Mr Biden was making up his mind over who to choose as a running mate.

She emerged as a fierce advocate for police reform and social justice as she sparred with Republicans on the Senate floor and offered fiery critiques of President Donald Trump.

At the regular White House news conference the president expressed his surprise at the choice saying Ms Harris had been “very, very nasty” to Mr Biden during the Democratic Party primaries.

“One of the reasons that it surprised me, she was probably nastier than even Pocahontas to Joe Biden,” he said.

“She was very disrespectful to Joe Biden and it’s hard to pick somebody that’s that disrespectful.”

Ms Harris joins Mr Biden in the 2020 race at a moment of national crisis.

The coronavirus pandemic has claimed the lives of more than 150,000 people in the US, far more than the toll experienced in other countries.

Business closures and disruptions resulting from the pandemic have caused an economic collapse.

Unrest has emerged across the country as Americans protest racism and police brutality.

President Trump’s uneven handling of the crises has given Mr Biden an opening, and he enters the autumn campaign in a strong position against the president.

In adding Ms Harris to the ticket, he can point to her relatively centrist record on issues such as healthcare and her background in law enforcement in the nation’s largest state.

Ms Harris’ record as California attorney general and district attorney in San Francisco was heavily scrutinised during the Democratic primary.

She turned off some liberals and younger black voters who saw her as out of step on issues of systemic racism in the legal system and police brutality.

Mr Biden, who spent eight years as Barack Obama’s vice president, has spent months weighing who would fill that same role in his White House if he wins in November.

He pledged in March to select a woman as his vice president, easing frustration among Democrats that the presidential race would centre on two white men in their 70s.

A woman has never served as president or vice president in the United States.

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