Former Vice President Joe Biden declared Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) as his pick for vice president, kickstarting a new era of his 2020 presidential campaign against 1968 Wharton graduate and President Donald Trump.
Harris will be the first Black woman and first Asian American to be nominated for national office by a major political party, and the fourth woman in American history chosen for a presidential ticket on one of the two major parties, according to The New York Times.
Biden, former Penn presidential professor of practice, called Harris "a fearless fighter for the little guy, and one of the country’s finest public servants," in a tweet announcing his pick on Tuesday evening.
Trump announced in a Monday tweet that he will accept the Republican nomination for president on Aug. 27.
Harris, Biden's former primary rival, has spent most of her career as a prosecutor with Democratic policies that largely align with those of Biden. Her supporters have long argued her ability to reinforce her appeal to Black voters and women without polarizing either the left or right, the Times reported. As the daughter of Indian and Jamaican immigrants, Harris' selection additionally serves as a stance against restrictive immigration policies advanced by Trump's administration.
Harris and Biden have previously battled each other on issues of race, segregation, and school integration in America.
In a June 27 Democratic debate, Harris criticized Biden for opposing federal busing mandates in the 1970s and recalled her own childhood experience with segregation. The debate immediately boosted Harris towards the top of the polls while briefly costing Biden, the Times reported.
After ending her presidential campaign in December 2019, however, Harris ultimately endorsed Biden and returned full time to the Senate.
Harris championed the nationwide protests against systemic racism and police brutality, and served as a leader in the Democratic party's response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, according to NPR. Harris sponsored the Justice in Policing Act of 2020, a bill being drafted by House and Senate Democrats that would end qualified immunity for police and make lynching a federal crime.
The announcement comes less than a week before the Democratic National Convention from Aug. 17 to Aug. 20.
Biden’s vice presidential selection committee was led by former Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.), Delaware Rep. Lisa Rochester, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, and former Biden aide Cynthia Hogan, the Times reported. Garcetti and Rochester serve as co-chairs of the Biden campaign.
Penn Democrats — one of the University's largest political groups — endorsed Biden for president in late March, lauding his early promises to choose a woman for his vice president and nominate a Black woman to the Supreme Court.
Penn Dems president and rising College senior Owen Voutsinas-Klose will serve as a delegate for Biden at DNC, and will cast his vote for the former vice president virtually or by mail due to concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic.
In 2017, Biden accepted an honorary professor position, formally referred to as “Benjamin Franklin Presidential Practice Professor.” He also established the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement in Washington, D.C. in 2018.