Lbefore Joe Biden named Kamala Harris as his running mate, and even before facing each other as rival Democratic presidential contenders, the two had bonded over their mutual love for Biden’s son Beau , and their grief after his death.
Harris’s friendship with Biden’s late son, who died in 2015 at the age of 46 of brain cancer, was something Biden said he “thought a lot” about as he made the decision to name his running mate. “There is no opinion that I value more than Beau’s and I am proud to have Kamala by my side on this campaign,” Biden wrote in a campaign email.
Harris and Beau Biden both served as attorneys general – she from California, he from Delaware – and began working closely while negotiating with banks during the foreclosure crisis in 2011 and 2012.
In his memoir, Harris called him an “incredible friend and colleague” who became a close collaborator. “There were times, when I was getting hot, that Beau and I talked every day, sometimes several times a day,” she writes. “We supported each other.
After Beau’s death, Harris said at the 2016 California Democratic convention that the Biden family “truly represents the highest ideals of our nation, a powerful belief in the nobility of public service.” Joe Biden, she says, “has given so much to our country and on top of everything he has accomplished, he has given us my dear friend Beau.
Elder Biden endorsed Harris’ Senate campaign that year and she endorsed him for president that year after dropping out of the race. In both cases, they mentioned Beau Biden as a reason they trusted and respected each other.
In the run-up to Tuesday’s announcement naming Harris as his vice president, Biden, the former Obama vice president, often said he was looking to recreate the kind of relationship he and Obama shared. Biden wanted a vice-president “who is simpatico with where I want to take the country. We can disagree on tactics but not on strategy, ”he told MSNBC.
In the run-up to Tuesday’s announcement naming Harris as his vice president, Biden, as Obama’s former vice president, has often said he’s looking to recreate the kind of relationship he and Obama have. shared. Biden wanted a vice-president “who is simpatico with where I want to take the country. We can disagree on tactics but not on strategy, ”he told MSNBC.
Harris fits this description in that his moderate ideology aligns with that of Biden. But as the Obama-Biden relationship started pragmatically – the former president’s advisers said he chose Biden, despite reluctance, to appease voters nervous about electing a young black candidate – before eventually becoming a friendship, Harris and Biden had a head start in developing this simpatico relationship.
As rival presidential candidates, the two clashed during the primaries – especially in a Democratic debate when Harris spoke of Biden’s opposition in the 1970s to the bus commissioned to promote school desegregation.
“There was a little girl in California who was in second class to enter her public schools, and she was bused to school every day. And that little girl was me, ”Harris said. She also called for her past collaboration with segregationist senators, for which Biden apologized. Even so, Harris preceded his criticism: “I don’t think you are racist, and I agree with you when you engage with the importance of finding common ground,” he said. she said, despite the Trump campaign’s false claims that she called Biden a racist.
Still, Biden and Harris had a rough time after the debate. In an interview with CNN, Biden said he was injured by the attack – which was ultimately blunted when Harris was asked about her own position on the bus mandated as a solution to continued school segregation. Ultimately, his take on the modern bus – which it should be considered, but not mandatory – ended up echoing Biden’s stance in the ’70s.
“I was not prepared for the person to come after me as they came after me. She knew Beau, she knows me, ”Biden said afterward. At a fundraiser, Dr. Jill Biden, his wife, called the exchange a “punch in the gut.”
But later Joe Biden said he and Harris got things done. “I don’t hold a grudge,” Biden said. “I made it clear that I don’t hold a grudge. I think it was a debate, it was that simple.