The Truth About Joe Biden's Relationship With Kamala Harris

When Joe Biden announced that he was picking California senator and former presidential candidate Kamala Harris as his running mate, history was made. As noted by The Guardian, Harris, who is of Jamaican and Indian descent, is the first woman of color to ever be named a vice presidential running mate. 

In his announcement on Twitter, Biden praised Harris, calling her "a fearless fighter for the little guy, and one of the country's finest public servants." While Biden and Harris are now allies and running on the same ticket, the relationship between the two hasn't always been a smooth one. They're former rivals, after all, and Harris was vying for the presidency quite recently. Last year, after talk about a Biden-Harris ticket began circulating, Harris refused to even think of herself as a vice presidential candidate, saying "Joe Biden would be a great running mate," (via The New Yorker).

Kamala Harris was friends with Joe Biden's son

Harris and Biden have a long history, although it's largely through Biden's late son, Beau Biden, who passed away from brain cancer in 2015. As noted by The Guardian, Harris and Beau struck up a friendship when they both served as attorney generals — Harris was the attorney general of California, while Beau was the attorney general of Delaware. During the foreclosure crisis in the early 2010s, Harris and Beau worked alongside each other to negotiate with banks. "There were periods, when I was taking heat, that Beau and I talked every day, sometimes multiple times a day," she wrote in her memoir The Truths We Hold: An American Journey. "We had each other's backs."

Biden cited Harris' friendship with his son when he announced her as his running mate. "Back when Kamala was Attorney General, she worked closely with Beau," he wrote on Twitter. "I watched as they took on the big banks, lifted up working people, and protected women and kids from abuse. I was proud then, and I'm proud now to have her as my partner in this campaign."

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris went head to head in a debate

Biden and Harris memorably went head to head when they were both vying for the presidency. In a Democratic debate, Harris attacked Biden's opposition to mandatory school busing in the 1970s, a measure that was meant to help desegregate schools. "There was a little girl in California who was part of the second class to integrate her public schools, and she was bussed to school every day," she said during the debate (via The Guardian). "And that little girl was me."

Harris also brought up the fact that Biden previously worked with senators who approved of segregation — something it should be noted that Biden has apologized for. Even during the heated debate, though, Harris did not completely denounce Biden. "I do not believe you are a racist, and I agree with you when you commit yourself to the importance of finding common ground," she said.

While Biden told CNN he was upset by someone he knew so well confronting him that way, he acknowledged that such things happen during debates. Biden and Harris have clearly smoothed things over since then, though, and are ready to move forward as a powerful, united force.