Harris, Pelosi to make history seated behind Biden at speech

29 Avril, 2021, 11:20 | Auteur: Christine Menetries
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Behind Mr Biden stood two women - House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Vice-President Kamala Harris - creating history.

He was referring, of course, to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) - the only woman to have ever held that position - and Vice President Harris, the only woman and person of Black or Asian descent to ever have done so.

"This is a great start and we have to continue to move forward to give women their equal due", said Christian Nunes, president of the National Organisation for Women. "No president has ever said those words from this podium, no president has ever said those words, and it's about time".

Pelosi already knows what it feels like to sit on the rostrum in the House chamber and introduce a president for speeches.

After the address, reporters asked Harris about the significance of the occasion, and she reportedly told them that it was just "normal", The Guardian reported.

Biden set out to assemble the most diverse Cabinet in recent history, and has since offered a list that's 55 percent nonwhite and 45 percent female, according to NPR.

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But with the addition this time of Kamala Harris, the nation's first female vice president, the two people seated behind and on either side of Biden who Americans see on their TV screens during the primetime address will be women. "It's about time. I made history when I was the first speaker to be standing behind President Bush, and he made note of that".

Indeed, former President George W. Bush began his 2007 State of the Union address with a nod to Pelosi.

Biden helped usher the moment along by pledging to pick a woman for his running mate and selecting Harris, then a USA senator from California. After he acknowledged that he was the first president to open his remarks with the words "Madam Speaker", the crowd of (mostly male) lawmakers rose for a lengthy standing ovation.

He began his speech with: 'Madame Speaker.

Ms Harris' office declined comment on her historic role in the president's address, preferring to let the moment speak for itself. In her role as president of the Senate, she joins Pelosi to preside over the joint session of Congress. "But for now this is a particularly gratifying moment". The symbolic seating also connotes the first time that women are first and second in the presidential line of succession, a sign of women in power in their respective roles, CNN said.

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