Monday, April 19, 2021

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris Talk Politics, Family and ‘Holding Grudges’ in First Joint Interview

*Joe Biden and Kamala Harris sat down with PEOPLE magazine for their first joint interview since Biden named Harris as his VP running mate. 

“It’s really, really, really important to have someone [like Harris on the ticket] with this intellectual capacity, educational background, backbone and stature,” Biden said of his selection to People. “It’s going to change a lot.”

When asked if Harris would be the kind of VP to call out him when he’s wrong, the former vice president said, “Yes, she is.” 

“We already have that understanding. I’m going to be the last one in the room — and there to give him honest feedback,” Harris added. “Being vice president to Joe Biden to me means supporting his agenda and supporting him in every way.”

Harris said her core connection with Biden is rooted in family. 

“That’s one of the things we have in common,” Harris said. “My children don’t call me stepmom, they call me Momala. We’re a very modern family. Their mom is a close friend of mine. … Joe and I have a similar feeling that really is how we approach leadership: family in every version that it comes.”

Below are excepts from the duo’s conversation with PEOPLE. 

Sen. Harris, what was it like to get the job offer?

Harris: I was in the room on the Zoom and Doug was in the other room, just waiting. The intercom system in my family growing up is the same one we use now, which is to shout loudly from one room to the other. [laughs] The vice president had his cell phone because Jill was at an event. Then they asked for Doug, and I shouted, “Dougie, come!”

Biden: We started with Jill and Doug. We share the same basic values set: It all starts with family.

Harris: The next day Doug and I came [to Delaware] to visit with the vice president and Jill at their home, and we just hung out with homemade chocolate chip cookies. I saw some family pictures. Joe called my in-laws and we surprised them. Then Joe said, “Tell me how the kids are doing?” This is the thing — among the many things I love about Joe Biden — he said, “Let’s call them.” So he called, separately, [Harris’ stepchildren] Ella and Cole to welcome them into the family.

The two of you went head to head in the primary race. You’ve talked about not holding grudges …

Biden: Well, we go back a long way. She was friends with my Beau, my son. The first time I was aware of who she was, I got a phone call from Beau saying, “I want you to nominate Kamala Harris for the United States Senate. She’s a friend of mine.”

Harris: That is how I got to really know Joe as a person, hearing about him through his son. But I also want to add this: Joe Biden had the audacity to say he was going to have a woman as his vice president. He didn’t apologize for it. In a country where we still have so much to do to fight toward our ideals, he just fast-forwarded the whole thing.

Biden: The government should look like the country. There’s a new law of physics in politics: Any country that does not engage more than half their population in sharing the full responsibilities of governance and power is absolutely going to lose.

How do you stay in touch during a pandemic that makes physical campaigning difficult? Calls? Texts?

Biden: All the above, plus our staffs. She’s stolen some of mine already, but you got to give them back when we get elected.

Harris: Well, they’re going to be ours!

Biden: The easy part of this is like my relationship with Barack — we trusted each other. Think about what happened when those folks came out in Charlottesville, carrying those torches. Close your eyes and remember what you saw, chanting the same anti-Semitic bile that was chanted in the streets of Germany in the ’30s, accompanied by the Ku Klux Klan. And a young woman gets killed protesting against them and the president of the United States says, “There are very fine people on both sides.” That phrase was heard ’round the world. This is going to change.

Harris: That’s right.

Biden: This is who we are [gestures to Harris next to him]. This is America.

Read the full PEOPLE report here.
Ny MaGee
Ny MaGee is a screenwriter and freelance reporter from Chicago -- currently living in Los Angeles and covering A-list entertainment for various outlets, including Emmys.com. She has worked for: Miramax, MTV & VH1, The Jim Henson Company, Hallmark Channel, Paramount Pictures, and for iconic indie film producer Roger Corman.

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