Washington: Joe Biden has become the presumptive Democratic nominee after his last remaining opponent Senator Bernie Sanders ended his US presidential campaign, clearing the former Vice President's path to nomination and a showdown with President Donald Trump in the November elections.
Hours after becoming the presumptive nominee of the Democratic party on Wednesday, Biden held a virtual fundraiser with Kamala Harris as special guest, fuelling speculation that the Indian-origin US Senator may be his running mate in the presidential elections.
Biden, 77, emerged as the presumptive nominee of the Democratic Party after Senator Sanders withdrew from the race and endorsed the former Vice President for the November presidential elections against Trump.
"I wish I could give you better news, but I think you know the truth, and that is that we are now some 300 delegates behind Vice President Biden, and the path toward victory is virtually impossible," Sanders said in a livestream after the call.
"So while we are winning the ideological battle and while we are winning the support of so many young people and working people throughout the country, I have concluded that this battle for the Democratic nomination will not be successful. And so today I am announcing the suspension of my campaign," he said.
Indian-origin Senator from California, Harris, 55, withdrew her bid from the presidential race last year due to low poll ratings. While in race, she and Biden had bitter political fight. But, she later endorsed Biden after the former vice president made substantial gains in the Democratic primary.
Hours later, Biden invited Harris as a special guest for his virtual fundraiser. In view of the social distancing measures being enforced across the country due to the coronavirus pandemic, Biden campaign has resorted to innovative virtual fund raising.
In his remarks, Biden expressed how "lucky" he felt to have a "partnership" with Harris going forward.
"The idea, Kamala, that you ran a hell of a race and you endorsed me means a lot. It's not an easy thing to do, but, you know, thanks for making the time and for being so loyal,' Biden said.
"And I'm so lucky to have you as part of this, this partnership going forward, because I think we're going together we can make a great deal of difference, and the biggest thing we can do is make Donald Trump a one-term president. So I'm coming for you, kid," Biden said.
The former vice president said that Harris shared admiration for his late son Beau Biden.
According to the Biden campaign, there were 52 people in attendance, including some folks who received a shout out during the fundraiser - TV writer and producer Norman Lear and former White House Press Secretary for the Clinton Administration Dee Dee Myers.
The fundraiser was hosted by former US Ambassador to Germany John Emerson, and Kimberly Marteau Emerson, a Principal at KME Consulting. Emerson said that while the fundraisers goal was $100,000, the group exceeded it, raising $150,000.
Harris, in her remarks, slammed Trump for the "vacuum of leadership" that currently exists in the United States and praised Biden for his record of leadership.
"Joe Biden has a way of working on these issues, not only to improve the lives of all Americans, but to improve their ability to believe that everything is going to be okay. And that's one of the things I think we all who have known him for a long time love about Joe Biden," Harris said.
"He sees people. He understands their pain, He understands their dreams. And what we need is a president who has a proven track record of leadership, and also who has the ability to lift people up. That's what people need right now," she said.
In his remarks Biden addressed Sanders' departure from the presidential race.
"He's a powerful voice for a fairer and more just American, and I want Bernie and his supporters to know: I see you. I hear you. I understand the urgency of what you've done, and I hope you'll join us because we need all of you. We need all of you," he said.
The former vice president then addressed the ongoing coronavirus pandemic gripping the country and the anxious time it has brought about while all Americans are facing the situation together but in isolation simultaneously.
"This disease is not only tearing through the nation and devastating families and wrecking the economy, we're starting to see and magnifying some of the worst systemic inequities that exist, amplifying some of the most unjust gaps in our society," Biden said, noting that counties with a majority black population have infection rates three times greater than majority white counties.
Biden said he had reached out to former President Barack Obama for advice on the selection process of his running mate.
According to some media reports, Biden has shortlisted nine individuals as his potential running mate. Among them, include Harris and Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar. Biden has said that he will pick a woman as his running mate.