Kamala Harris underscores support for Biden at Las Vegas rally: ‘He is a fighter’

<span>Kamala Harris speaks at a campaign rally in Las Vegas, on 9 July 2024.</span><span>Photograph: Steve Marcus/AP</span>
Kamala Harris speaks at a campaign rally in Las Vegas, on 9 July 2024.Photograph: Steve Marcus/AP

Kamala Harris doubled down on her support of Joe Biden on Tuesday, describing the embattled president as a “fighter” as she warned Donald Trump would turn the country from a democracy into a dictatorship if he is re-elected to the White House in November.

The vice-president, speaking at a campaign event in Nevada, alluded to Biden’s struggles since his calamitous debate performance last month. “We always knew this election would be tough, and the past few days have been a reminder that running for president of the United States is never easy,” Harris said.

“But the one thing we know about our president, Joe Biden, is that he is a fighter. He is a fighter, and he is the first to say, when you get knocked down, you get back up.” An audience member shouted back: “Yes, we all know.”

Harris spoke shortly after a seventh House Democrat, Mikie Sherrill, publicly called on Biden to step aside. “I realize this is hard, but we have done hard things in pursuit of democracy since the founding of this nation. It is time to do so again,” Sherrill posted on Twitter/X.

Voters face the “most existential, consequential and important election of our lifetime”, Harris warned during her speech at the Las Vegas event focused on Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) communities.

Related: Democrats appear torn over Biden as concerns whether he can win deepen

The first person of south Asian descent to serve as vice-president, Harris noted that Trump “consistently incites hate”, including towards the AANHPI communities. “Someone who vilifies immigrants, who promotes xenophobia, someone who stokes hate, should never again have the chance to stand behind a microphone,” she added.

Harris is at the forefront of the Biden-Harris campaign’s effort to reach out to Asian American voters, and on Tuesday spoke about her mother, Shyamala Gopalan, a cancer research scientist who left India at age 19 to study in California. “My mother had two goals in her life: to raise her two daughters and to end breast cancer,” Harris said. “My mother never asked anyone’s permission to pursue her dreams.”

Harris is scheduled to address a town hall in Philadelphia on Saturday hosted by an advocacy group focused on mobilizing Asian American voters. “We need to make sure that AA and NHPI voices are heard at the ballot boxes around our country, just as we need to make sure that those voices are represented in all levels of government,” Harris said in a video released by the campaign on Tuesday. “Asian Americans must be in the rooms where the decisions are being made.”

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