Kamala Harris Dissed Joe Biden Multiple Times. Here's Why

Former Vice President and presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden and his running mate, California Sen. Kamala Harris, have teamed up to win the White House from President Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential election. Biden's choice, which he announced on Aug. 11, 2020, is a historic one, as Harris "is the first Black woman and the first person of Indian descent to be nominated for national office by a major party," according to The New York Times. She's "only the fourth woman in U.S. history to be chosen for a presidential ticket," per the outlet.

As for why Biden picked Harris? Well, besides her long list of accomplishments (she was elected San Francisco district attorney in 2003 and California attorney general in 2010), she also was close to Biden's late son, Beau Biden, who died at age 46 from brain cancer in May 2015. Beau was Maryland attorney general from 2006 to 2014, and during this time, Harris and Beau worked together, which Joe noted in a tweet. "I watched as [Beau and Harris] took on the big banks, lifted up working people, and protected women and kids from abuse," the Delaware native said about his VP pick. "I was proud then, and I'm proud now..."

However, the long history between these politicians doesn't mean they haven't butted heads from time to time. In fact, Harris has called out Biden on several occasions in the past. Curious to find out why? Let's take a look at their complicated history.

Kamala Harris supported Joe Biden's accusers

Multiple women came forward in 2019 with allegations against Joe Biden, claiming that he inappropriately touched them and made them feel uncomfortable. In one example, Lucy Flores, a lawyer and former politician from Nevada, claimed in a March 2019 essay for The Intelligencer that Biden kissed the back of her head and sniffed her hair before a campaign event. Former Senate aide Tara Reade alleged to The Union in April 2019 that Biden "put his hand on my shoulder and run his finger up my neck" when she worked for him in the early '90s. In May 2020, Reade accused Biden of sexual assault stemming from a 1993 incident, reported TIME

When asked at an April 2019 campaign event about the accusations, California Sen. Kamala Harris told reporters, per The Huffington Post, "I believe them, and I respect them being able to tell their story and having the courage to do it." When asked if Biden should continue his presidential campaign, Harris replied, "He's going to have to make that decision for himself. I wouldn't tell him what to do."

Biden responded to the accusations in a tweet, saying in part, "...I've heard what these women are saying. Politics to me has always been about making connections, but I will be more mindful about respecting personal space in the future."

Of course, Harris' support for these women wasn't a diss — it just shows that the senator isn't hesitant to address matters concerning Biden, even when it might be uncomfortable.

Kamala Harris questioned Joe Biden's political record

One notable showdown between former Vice President Joe Biden and California Sen. Kamala Harris went down during a Democratic primary debate in June 2019, when Harris brought up Biden's political record and comments on desegregation busing. Busing was a federally mandated initiative to desegregate schools in America, spurred by "the 1971 Supreme Court ruling in Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education," according to CNN. "Black students started taking school buses to majority-white schools and white students to majority-black schools, often in neighborhoods far from where they lived," the outlet explained.

Biden was a young senator during this time, and he worked with his conservative colleagues to oppose busing. Harris addressed this at the debate, stating, per Vox, "You also worked with [those segregationist senators] to oppose busing. And there was a little girl in California who was part of the second class to integrate her public schools and she was bused to school every day. And that little girl was me."

Harris qualified that she doesn't think Biden is a "racist," but, she slammed him for working with senators "who built their reputations and career on the segregation of race in this country."

Biden, as Vox noted, said that he didn't oppose busing — he was against using federal funds to carry out the initiative. He also apologized for touting his work with pro-segregation senators, stating in July 2019, per Reuters, "I'm sorry for any of the pain or misconception I may have caused anybody."

Kamala Harris shaded Joe Biden's presidential aspirations

In May 2019, during her presidential campaign, California Sen. Kamala Harris spoke with the press in Nashua, N.H., and questioned former Vice President Joe Biden's presidential run. Citing Biden's experience as VP to President Barack Obama, Harris said that Biden would make "a great running mate," according to the Boston Herald. She added, "As vice president, he's proven that he knows how to do the job."

As Democratic strategist Scott Ferson told the Boston Herald, "Harris has sort of pointed out — in a clever way — the hypocrisy of thinking that women running for president are really running for vice president."

Of course, a lot has changed since then. As Christina Greer, a political science professor, explained to The Atlantic, "'That [Biden] still chose the same woman who critiqued him as his closest partner to rebuild American democracy speaks very highly about how Joe Biden views female leadership and the ability for someone to call him to the mat.' He will 'get back up, shake hands, and be willing to listen and learn.'"

All of this is to say political relationships can be complicated, and the Biden-Harris ticket is no exception to this rule.

If you or someone you know has been the victim of sexual assault, you can call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673) or visit RAINN.org for additional resources.