Joe Biden and Kamala Harris made a compelling case for their campaign to beat Donald Trump as they each spoke Wednesday during their first appearance together as the Democratic presidential ticket. And while it may have been one of the best public addresses from the former vice president in recent history, it was the person favored to become the next vice president who stole the show while addressing Trump in no uncertain terms.
Speaking in Biden’s hometown of Wilmington, Delaware, the presumptive Democratic nominees took turns equally laying out their policy plans as well as laying it on Trump while providing a glimpse of their campaign’s no-nonsense strategy against the president and his administration. But perhaps most effective was how the duo presented such a stark contrast between themselves and Trump himself.
Biden, looking to a future that included a victorious Election Day for Democrats, said he, as president, expected Harris to hold him accountable — the polar opposite of the dictatorial approach that Trump seems to favor.
“I’ve asked Kamala to be the last voice in the room… always tell me the truth… challenge my assumptions if she disagrees,” Biden said during his speech. “Ask the tough questions. Because that’s the way we make the best decisions for the American people.”
When it was finally Harris’ turn to speak, the senator from California came across at once as gracious, eager and, perhaps most significant of all, completely prepared for the moment. Throughout it all, she kept Trump in her rhetorical crosshairs, calling him out on everything from a lack of leadership to the economy to the coronavirus pandemic, and much more.
Keep reading to find some of Kamala Harris’ top quotes from her first speech as one half of the top of the 2020 Demcratic presidential ticket.
On leadership: “I am ready to get to work … This is a moment of real consequence for America. Everything we care about: our economy, our health, the kind of country we live in — it’s all on the line … America is crying out for leadership.”
“This is what happens when we elect a guy who just isn’t up for the job. Our country ends in tatters and so does our reputation around the world.”
“We have a president who cares more about himself than the people that elected him…We don’t have to accept the failed government of Donald Trump and Mike Pence, in just 83 days we have a chance to choose.”
“This election is about more than just politics. It’s about who we are as a country.”
On her identity: “Today, [Joe Biden] takes his place in the ongoing story of America’s march toward equality and justice…as the only who has served alongside the first Black president and has chosen the first Black woman as his running mate.”
On her prosecutorial past: “Let me tell you as somebody who has presented my fair share of arguments in court, the case against Donald Trump and Mike Pence is OPEN and SHUT”
On Trump’s sexism: Harris said she was “mindful of all the ambitious women before me, whose sacrifice, determination and resilience makes my presence here today even possible.”
On the economy: “He inherited the longest economic upturn in modern history, and he inherited it from Barack Obama and Joe Biden, and like everything else he’s inherited, he ran it into the ground.”
On COVID-19: “His delusional belief that he knew better than the experts.”
“His flip-flopping on social distancing & wearing masks. His delusional belief that he knows better than the experts. All of that is reason & the reason that an American dies of COVID-19 every 80 seconds.”
“This virus has impacted almost every country, but there’s a reason it has hit America worse than any other advanced nation. It’s because of Trump’s failure to take it seriously from the start. … It didn’t have to be this way.”
On being a stepmother: “I’ve had a lot of titles over my career and certainly vice president will be great — but Momala will always be the one that means the most.”
Harris’ moving words had quite the effect on people watching and listening, as shown by the onslught of favorable reactions across social media. Scroll down to find some of the liveliest responses to Kamala Harris’ speech, in pasrtiucular, but also to the prospects of Trump only serving one term before losing to Biden and the first Black woman to run for president on a major party’s ticket.