Biden picks Kamala Harris as his candidate for vice president

Former Vice President Joe Biden, the Democratic Party challenger to Republican Donald Trump, has selected his running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris.

In her first public statement since Joe Biden named her as his vice presidential running mate, California Sen. Kamala Harris says she’s “honored” to join the Democrats’ presumptive presidential nominee on the party’s November ticket.

Harris said on Twitter that Biden “can unify the American people because he’s spent his life fighting for us.” She said Biden would build a country that “lives up to our ideals.”

In March, Biden committed to selecting a woman for the role. He had been pressured since May to select a woman of color for the role, but he would not guarantee that he would select a woman of color.

Harris becomes the first African American and Indian American woman to appear as the vice presidential candidate for a major political party.

The 77-year-old Biden would be the oldest president-elect in U.S. history, and that has put additional scrutiny on his selection of a running mate. Biden has referred to himself as a transition candidate who would act as a bridge to a younger generation of leadership.

At age 55, Harris, is a first-term senator who has established herself as one of the party’s most prominent figures. Harris became a top contender for the vice president’s role after she ended her campaign and endorsed Biden.

Harris served as a district attorney in San Francisco and as California’s attorney general. That appealed to some centrist Democrats but attracted questions from some liberals and younger Black voters. Harris countered that she is a “progressive prosecutor” who supported law enforcement reforms.

A woman has never served as president or vice president in the United States. Two women have been nominated as running mates on major party tickets: Democrat Geraldine Ferraro in 1984 and Republican Sarah Palin in 2008. Their party lost in the general election.

The Trump campaign statement on Kamala Harris read in part: “Not long ago, Kamala Harris called Joe Biden a racist and asked for an apology she never received. Clearly, Phony Kamala will abandon her own morals, as well as try to bury her record as a prosecutor, in order to appease the anti-police extremists controlling the Democrat Party. In her failed attempt at running for president, Kamala Harris gleefully embraced the left’s radical manifesto, calling for trillions of dollars in new taxes and backing Bernie Sanders’ government takeover of healthcare. She is proof that Joe Biden is an empty shell being filled with the extreme agenda of the radicals on the left.”

The names of several potential contenders had been floated in the months since Biden first said he would pick a woman. Those have included former presidential candidate rivals Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Harris. Former National Security Adviser Susan Rice, Rep. Karen Bass and Sen. Tammy Duckworth also attracted attention, as did Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

Multiple media reports said that Biden interviewed all the finalists personally, either through video conference sessions or in-person visits.

Harris will debate Vice President Mike Pence on Oct. 7 in Salt Lake City, Utah.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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