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 A Complicated History: Four Times Joe Biden and Kamala Harris Have Gone Head To Head
WILMINGTON, DE - AUGUST 12: Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee former Vice President Joe Biden invites his running mate Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) to the stage to deliver remarks at the Alexis Dupont High School on August 12, 2020 in Wilmington, Delaware. Harris is the first Black woman and first person of Indian descent to be a presumptive nominee on a presidential ticket by a major party in U.S. history. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Following a contentious Democratic primary for the 2020 Presidential Election, Joe Biden nominated Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) as his running mate on August 11th, 2020. 

While some immediately praised Harris as being among the first minority female Vice-Presidential Candidates, many Americans who actively kept up with the election process had a few questions to ask.

Despite both being prominent voices within the same party, the two have a complicated, often contentious history. Whether it be policy disagreements, contradictory statements, or direct attacks against one another, their relationship has historically been anything but smooth. 

Here are four times President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris have bumped heads. 

Harris attacks Biden’s civil rights record 

 During the Democratic Debate on June 27, 2019, Kamala Harris took clear aim at Biden, actively condemning his past action and alleging racism, calling out his support of what she called discriminatory legislation.  

At one particularly contentious moment in the debate, Harris noted Biden’s past support of segregationist Senators James Eastland and Herman Talmadge, saying, “it was hurtful to hear you talk about the reputations of two United States senators who built their reputations and career on segregation of race in this country.”

Despite the accuracy of Harris’ claims, Biden tried to clarify that everything she had said was a mischaracterization and that he “did not praise racists.”

Harris, however, did not let up, as she proceeded to bring up how Biden’s past support of segregated busing in the 1970s impacted her as a child. 

“You also worked with them to oppose busing. And you know, 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. So, I will tell you that on this subject, it cannot be an intellectual debate among Democrats. We have to take it seriously. We have to act swiftly.”

Once more, following the exchange, the former-vice president attempted to repair his image by claiming Harris’s remarks were a “mischaracterization” of his role in the senate. 

Sexual Misconduct Allegations Against Biden

In April of 2019, before Biden entered the presidential race, reports of the former vice president inappropriately touching women came to light. 

Multiple women had accused Biden of sexual misconduct, among them Nancy Flores, a Nevada Lawmaker who claimed the former vice president kissed the back of her head at a campaign event. 

When asked at the time for her opinion on the allegations, Harris said, “I believe them, and I respect them being able to tell their story and having the courage to do it,” openly admitting that she believes Biden was guilty of sexual misconduct. 

Tara Reade, a former congressional aide to Biden from 1992-1993 also came out against him with her own experience. 

In a podcast with Katie Halper, Reade claimed that while working on capitol hill in 1993, Biden had pushed her up against a wall, kissed her neck, and sexually assaulted her.

Biden came out in early May to address the claims, saying, “No, it is not true. I’m saying unequivocally it never, never happened. And it didn’t. It never happened.”

Similar to how she treated Biden’s earlier accusers, Harris offered Reade her support, saying she “has a right to tell her story.”


On night two of the 2020 democratic debates, Kamala Harris and Joe Biden found themselves clashing just as they did on night one. However, this time it was on the topic of health care. 

Harris was rated 2019’s most liberal senator by nonpartisan Govtrack, so few Americans were surprised when she vocally supported a radical Medicare-for-all style plan. 

“In America, health care should be a right, not a privilege only for those who can afford it. It’s why we need Medicare for All,” she said in an article for Medium.

On the contrary, Joe Biden had routinely advocated for the idea of expanding the Affordable Care Act. 

When the topic arose on the debate stage, Biden went after Harris and New York Mayor Bill DeBlasio for their support of Medicare for all, saying “I don’t know what math you do in New York, I don’t know what math you do in California, but I tell you, that’s a lot of money, and there will be a deductible, and that will be out of your paycheck, because that’s what’s required,” as he pointed to estimates single-payer insurance could cost about $30 trillion over 10 years.

Among Kamala’s prominent points during the debate was how Biden’s proposed healthcare plan would leave millions of people without coverage. “For a Democrat to be running for president with a plan that does not cover everyone is without excuse,” she said, before adding that Biden’s plan would “leave out” almost 10 million Americans. 

Defunding/ Cutting Police forces

Amidst the anti-police protests and riots that engulfed much of 2020, defunding the police became an idea which quickly received support from many left-wing activists and prominent politicians.

But throughout the run up to the election, Biden and Harris made it clear they have a difference of opinion on the topic.

Harris came out early on as an open supporter of the reallocation of funds away from police departments, saying:

You know, in many cities in America, over one-third of their city budget goes to the police. So, we have to have this conversation, what are we doing? What about the money going to social services? What about the money going to helping people with job training? What about the mental health issues that communities are being plagued with for which we’re putting no resources?

On the contrary, while Harris has solicited bail funds for BLM rioters in Minneapolis and endorsed the Defund the Police movement, Biden has for decades been a relatively staunch supporter of the police, when compared to his Democrat peers.

In a 2002 op-ed for the Delaware State News, Biden stated, “What works in the fight against crime? It’s simple – more police on the streets.” He went on to add, “Put a cop on three of four corners and guess where the crime is going to be committed? On the fourth corner, where the cop isn’t. More cops clearly means less crime.”

Biden has also denounced the idea of defunding police departments and has even mentioned that he wants to increase the amount of funding departments receive.

In a much more recent op-ed from early June of last year, Biden said, “I do not support defunding police. The better answer is to give police departments the resources they need to implement meaningful reforms, and to condition other federal dollars on completing those reforms.”

Jacob Falach is a writer and student in Nashville, TN. You can find him on Instagram at @thatjewishconservative.

The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.

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