US Vice President-elect Kamala Harris speaking first and leading into Joe Biden’s remarks is slowly but surely becoming a signature one-two maneuver that could define our visual recall of the post-January 21, 2021 White House power duo.
In her first set of prepared remarks Monday on the tanking US economy, Vice President elect Kamala Harris took the stage before Biden, in a repeat of the team’s victory speech routine from the night of November 7.
At best Harris’ remarks were a contextual introduction to a Biden view of repairing the US economy.
“The road ahead. It will not be easy. But the President Elect and I are hitting the ground running. Because we all know the challenges facing America today are great. The American people deserve no less. And we don’t have a moment to waste. And now it is my incredible and great honor to introduce our president elect Joe Biden,” Harris said.
The substantive portion came in Biden’s speech – who he met, what he plans to do and then he took questions. Harris merely set the stage but she did. And that seems to be getting hard coded into the semantics of the post-Trump administration.
Even routine communications from the Biden transition team rarely speak of Biden in the singular. “On Monday, November 16, President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will deliver remarks in Wilmington, Delaware on the economic recovery and building back better in the long term,” said a Monday morning dispatch.
These are early signals from the Biden team that Harris is not going to be a Vice President in the Mike Pence mould, hidden away from the media spotlight in the big and small moments.
The pattern does not stop with Harris’ speaking opportunities, it extends to plenty of big ticket choices the Biden team is going to make. Biden is said to be close to choosing a woman to lead the Pentagon, breaking more barriers.
The Defense Department is one of three Cabinet agencies e the others being Treasury and Veterans Affairs e that have never been led by a woman.
Black women and suburban women, in particular, proved to be pillars of Biden’s victorious coalition. Biden’s public acknowledgement of Harris’ crucial role is also a nod to millions of American women who powered the Biden-Harris triumph.
Harris has framed her ascendancy as a tribute to Biden’s “audacity”.
“And what a testament it is to Joe’s character that he had the audacity to break one of the most substantial barriers that exists in our country and select a woman as his vice president. But while I may be the first woman in this office, I won’t be the last,” Harris said on the night of November 7, after the networks called the election for the Democrats.
Those who know Biden well and have worked beside him say his motivations for sharing the spotlight with Harris come from his own experience of the Vice Presidency during the Obama years, where he rarely took the stage during Obama’s history defining moments.
Kamala Harris is the first ever Indian and Black American woman to be elected to the White House. Biden and Harris won the US 2020 election on the Democratic ticket, defeating Donald Trump and Mike Pence in the popular vote and in the electoral college count.
The list of business leaders who met with Biden and Harris today: AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, GM CEO Mary Barra, SEIU President Mary Kay Henry, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, UAW President Rory Gamble, Target CEO Brian Cornell, UFCW President Marc Perrone, AFSCME President Lee Saunders and Gap CEO Sonia Syngal.