MIAMI — Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden's running mate, made her first of three campaign stops in Florida Saturday, speaking to voters on the last weekend of early voting in the Sunshine State.
She opened her remarks by slamming President Donald Trump's coronavirus pandemic response, citing Bob Woodward's reporting that Trump reportedly knew COVID-19 would be deadlier than the flu before it reached the U.S. and downplayed the threat.
"We know he knew back on Jan. 28," she said, "that this virus could kill people at five times the rate of the flu. We know he knew that it would impact people of every age. He knew it was airborne. And what did he do with that information? He covered it up."
She pushed back on President Trump's claims that she and Biden are socialists: "Joe and I are proud, patriotic Americans who share the values with the vast majority of Americans who want a president who speaks truth.”
Harris also touted a Biden administration's plan for criminal justice reform and urged everyone to get out and vote.
"Honor the ancestors. Those suffragettes who 100 years ago got us the passage of the 19th Amendment," Harris said. “But let's always speak truth, Black women couldn’t vote until 1965, so there is that.”
The rally was a star-studded affair, including introductory speeches from award-winning chef José Andrés and rapper Fat Joe.
Fat Joe, the Bronx-born rapper, urged Florida voters to turn out for Biden: “To me this is all about loyalty – when Joe Biden stood by Barack Obama’s side.”
Andrés, who was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize in 2018, said, “it’s time to start breaking down the walls and making longer tables.”
Later Saturday, Sen. Harris told reporters that she was confident on election night that there will be a "decisive decision."
Harris also said that she did not think the election results would end up in front of the Supreme Court, "based on what I'm feeling and seeing here and around the country."
She refused to speculate about Trump prematurely declaring victory, saying that people "want a peaceful transfer of power and will stand for our democracy whoever they voted for," and that she believed "there will be a respect for the elections and the outcome."
Saturday's events come as both the Trump and Biden campaigns are making last-minute appeals to Latino voters, hoping to garner support from the country’s largest minority voting group.
On Thursday, the Trump campaign released a series of ads in Spanish, which are set to run in Nevada, Arizona and Florida. The ads focus on the concept of the American Dream, with one saying, “Like President Trump, we are going to win this war against the coronavirus and continue fighting for our people.”
Also on Thursday, an ad from presidential nominee Joe Biden’s campaign pledged a task force to reunite more than 500 immigrant children who remain separated from their families.
The ad, titled “Separated,” features a promise that Biden “will issue an executive order creating a federal task force to reunite these children with their parents” on his first day in office.
Biden could get a boost from Latino voters in Texas, which the Cook Political Report labeled a “toss up” this week. He’s favored 57 to 34 percent among Latinos in the state, according to a recent New York Times/Siena College poll.
The Latino vote in Florida is more politically diverse, where Cuban American and Venezuelan American populations tend to lean conservative.
On the campaign trail in Arizona this week, President Trump also announced a new White House initiative called the American Dream Plan, aimed at benefiting the Hispanic community. The plan includes promises to add 500,000 Hispanic-owned businesses to the economy and create educational opportunities for Hispanic students.
“Now we know this is no time to let up on the pedal though, right?” Harris said, after mentioning how Texans have come out in droves during the early voting period, surpassing the total number of votes cast during the 2016 election as a whole. “We have a choice in this election to elect Joe Biden who says 'We are, as a first order of priority, going to unify our country and bring us back together as a nation who values the importance of giving each other respect and dignity'."
Harris’ late trip to Texas is fairly remarkable for a state that has long been considered noncompetitive, but she made it known the Biden-Harris ticket isn’t ceding Texas to Republicans this year.
"You have power, and at election time that power will be through your vote and you will tell them when they ask that you elected Joe Biden, the President of the United States,” Harris said.
A recent FiveThirtyEight polling average has Trump up by just one point in Texas.
Over 9.6 million people have voted in Texas, accounting for over 107% of their total turnout in the 2016 election, according to the U.S. Elections Project.