Kamala Harris accepted the Democratic Party's nomination for vice president on Wednesday night with a speech promising to eradicate both disease and racism from America.
The speech: Harris, a California senator, spoke at the virtual Democratic National Convention from Wilmington, Delaware, about her historic role as the first non-white woman to be nominated to national office by a major political party.
- She recalled how her late mother, a biologist who immigrated to the United States from India, had alone raised her and her sister to be "strong proud black women."
- "[My mother] probably could have never imagined that I would be standing before you now and speaking these words," she said. "I accept your nomination for vice president of the United States of America."
After describing her vision of America as "a beloved community where all are welcome," Harris suggested President Donald Trump had allowed the coronavirus pandemic to wreck the country and exacerbate "systemic racism."
- "And while this virus touches us all, we gotta be honest, it is not an equal opportunity offender. Black, Latino and Indigenous people are suffering and dying disproportionately, and this is not a coincidence. It is the effect of structural racism," she said.
- "This virus, it has no eyes, and yet it knows exactly how we see each other and how we treat each other. And let's be clear, there is no vaccine for racism."
Harris then pivoted to praising Biden, the Democratic presidential nominee, as a family man and a progressive leader.
- Returning to the theme of racial justice amid the pandemic, she pledged: "Joe will bring us together to end this pandemic and make sure that we are prepared for the next one. Joe will bring us together to squarely face and dismantle racial injustice, furthering the work of generations."
- Harris concluded by imagining Americans one day telling their grandchildren "what we did" in this moment of crisis to "change the course of history."
The reaction: While Harris' speech was widely hailed in the elite press as a historic coronation, many conservatives faulted the candidate for politicizing and racializing the pandemic.
Reason editor Robby Soave said in a tweet: "Man, other-problem-as-disease metaphors really just do not work for me at all right now."
"There's no vaccine for racism." Man, other-problem-as-disease metaphors really just do not work for me at all right now.— Robby Soave (@robbysoave) August 20, 2020
"THEY'RE NOT EVEN HIDING IT ANYMORE," tweeted Newsmax political correspondent DeAnna Lorraine.
Omg Kamala just said with a straight face “The Coronavirus is racist and knows how we see and treat each other” and tied it into George Floyd, racism and police brutality— DeAnna Lorraine 🇺🇸 (@DeAnna4Congress) August 20, 2020
THEY’RE NOT EVEN HIDING IT ANYMORE
Trump, who live-tweeted throughout the third night of the DNC, responded to Harris' remarks by recalling her harsh criticism of Biden, including his record on race, when she was running against him in the Democratic presidential primary.
BUT DIDN’T SHE CALL HIM A RACIST??? DIDN’T SHE SAY HE WAS INCOMPETENT???— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 20, 2020
Before Harris took the stage, former President Barack Obama and former first lady and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton were among a number of prominent Democrats who gave speeches denouncing Trump and vouching for Biden and Harris.
- Biden was set to accept the party's nomination on Thursday night in a convention-closing address.