In historic speech, Kamala Harris expected to train fire on Trump

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) – United States Senator Kamala Harris gives the most important speech of her political career on Wednesday (Aug 19) when she addresses the Democratic National Convention as presidential nominee Joe Biden’s running mate.

The former prosecutor from California, who made history as the first black woman and Asian American on a major presidential ticket, is expected to aggressively press the case against Republican President Donald Trump’s re-election on Nov 3.

Ms Harris will likely aim to speak directly to millions of women, young Americans and voters of colour, some of the party’s most important constituencies if Mr Biden is to defeat Mr Trump.

The proceedings being at 9pm ET (0100 GMT on Thursday).

Also speaking on the third night of the party convention are Mr Barack Obama, the nation’s first black president, former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, who lost to Mr Trump in 2016, US Senator Elizabeth Warren and the Speaker of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi.

Ms Harris gained prominence for her exacting interrogations of Trump nominees, Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh and Attorney General Bill Barr, while in the Senate.

It will also give her the opportunity to outline her biography as a child of immigrants from India and Jamaica, who as a district attorney, attorney general, senator and now vice-presidential candidate, shattered gender and racial barriers.

Mr Biden was formally declared the presidential nominee in a virtual roll call on Tuesday, part of an unusual convention during which somber video remarks have replaced roaring addresses before cheering crowds because of the coronavirus.

Mr Biden, 77, selected Ms Harris, 55, for his running mate last week, adding diversity and generational balance to his campaign.

She will deliver her speech from an austere hotel ballroom in Mr Biden’s hometown of Wilmington, Delaware.

Ms Harris provided a preview of her role as Mr Biden’s No. 2 last week, when she was introduced as his vice-presidential pick and argued that the case against Mr Trump, 74, and Vice-President Mike Pence, 61, was “open and shut”.

Detailing the deaths and economic turmoil caused by the coronavirus outbreak, Ms Harris said: “This is what happens when we elect a guy who just isn’t up to the job. Our country ends up in tatters.”

The first two nights of the four-day convention showcased elder statesmen and rising stars among Democrats who promised Mr Biden’s election would repair a pandemic-battered America and put an end to the chaos of Mr Trump’s four years in office.

In an impassioned speech on Monday, former first lady Michelle Obama called Mr Trump “the wrong president” for the US. She said he had failed to meet the moment in a country reeling from the pandemic, an economic downturn and racial injustice.

The Republican National Convention, also largely virtual, takes place next week. Mr Trump will give his acceptance speech at the White House, despite criticism that he is politicising the presidential residence.

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