Just ahead of a career-defining moment for U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), she received some unexpected advice from an old flame.
Former State Assembly Speaker Willie Brown encouraged her to “politely decline” if presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden asked her to serve as his running mate, as reported by the Washington Free Beacon.
“Glory would be short-lived”
On Tuesday, Biden confirmed he had chosen Harris to fill out the party’s ticket, ending months of intense speculation surrounding his decision.
The news came on the heels of Brown’s apparently unsolicited advice in the form of an op-ed in the San Francisco Chronicle. While he wrote that being slated as a vice-presidential pick would be a “huge honor,” he warned that the position is often a “dead end” for politicians with future ambitions.
Brown went on to advise Harris that even if she were to “make history by being the first woman to hold the job,” such “glory would be short-lived” and might represent the abrupt conclusion of her impressive political career.
One of the driving forces behind Harris’ rise dating back to the 1990s was Brown, who had previously served as the mayor of San Francisco. The two also dated for a time, according to reports.
Upon taking on the leadership position within the state assembly, he appointed Harris to the state’s Medical Assistance Commission and Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board.
“A leader on criminal justice”
Instead of agreeing to run alongside Biden, Brown encouraged Harris to vie for a cabinet appointment within Biden’s administration — specifically attorney general.
In light of Tuesday’s announcement, however, it appears that the senator has decided to accept the position. She expressed her excitement to hit the campaign trail on behalf of her one-time primary rival.
Despite the hostility demonstrated on the debate stage before Harris dropped out of the 2020 Democratic primary race, any disagreements between the two appear to now be a distant memory — at least in public.
“We’ve all watched her hold the Trump administration accountable for its corruption, stand up to a Justice Department that’s run amok, and be a powerful voice against their extreme nominations,” Biden said in singing Harris’ praises. “She’s been a leader on criminal justice and marriage equality. And she has focused like a laser on the racial disparities as a result of the coronavirus.”
While Harris certainly represents many of the qualities Democrats say are important in Biden’s running mate, it remains to be seen whether the announcement will be enough to build the enthusiasm likely needed to unseat an incumbent president.