Donald Trump’s campaign dubbed Kamala Harris “the most radical nominee for vice president in American history” in an onslaught of political attacks after her selection as Joe Biden’s running mate for the November election.
Ms Harris, the 55-year-old senator for California, was painted as a “radical” and “extreme” left-winger by the US president, his allies and supportive TV hosts as they attempted to portray her as out of step with middle America.
Mr Trump singled out her past positions such as supporting a ban on fracking, proposing government-funded healthcare for all Americans including illegal migrants and once opposing the death penalty for someone who killed a police officer.
But the attempts were undercut by criticism from prominent progressives who voiced anger that Ms Harris, a former prosecutor in San Francisco dubbed “Kamala the cop” by some left-wing critics, was picked ahead of others.
Ms Harris is widely considered a more moderate politician than some of the other vice presidential contenders Mr Biden, the Democratic presidential nominee, could have selected, such as left-wing senator Elizabeth Warren.
Other lines of attack deployed by the Trump team suggested a lack of certainty over the best way to frame Ms Harris, the first ever woman of colour picked for a presidential ticket of a major US political party.
The Trump campaign released an advert dubbing Ms Harris “Phony Kamala”, flagging up the moment in a debate during the Democratic primaries last year when Ms Harris challenged Mr Biden, then a rival for the nomination, over his record on racial issues.
Mr Trump also triggered a backlash with a tweet that, while not mentioning Ms Harris by name, appeared to be addressing the issue of racial integration in America's suburbs, whose voters are seen as a critical constituency in the election.
Mr Trump tweeted: “The ‘suburban housewife’ will be voting for me. They want safety & are thrilled that I ended the long running program where low income housing would invade their neighborhood. Biden would reinstall it, in a bigger form, with Corey Booker in charge!”
Mr Brooker, whose first name, Cory, the president misspelled, is an African-American senator for New Jersey. Biden campaign spokesman Andrew Bates accused Mr Trump of making “clumsy, bigoted lies” and claimed he was “dumbfounded” by Mr Biden’s selection of a “strong running mate”.
Speaking on Tuesday afternoon after the selection announcement broke, Mr Trump had called Ms Harris “nasty” and “horrible” for her grilling of Brett Kavanaugh, the Supreme Court judge appointed by Mr Trump who had a turbulent confirmation process in 2018.
“I thought she was the meanest, the most horrible, most disrespectful of anybody in the US Senate,” Mr Trump said. A Trump campaign email sent to supporters said: “Phony Kamala Harris isn’t just Joe Biden’s new far-left handler, she’s the most radical nominee for vice president in American history.”
But the president’s criticisms were clouded by the fact he donated twice to Ms Harris’s past re-election campaign as attorney general of California, giving $5,000 in 2011 and $1,000 in 2013, according to state campaign finance records. Ivanka Trump, his daughter, gave $2,000 in 2014.
Mr Trump also spoke warmly of Ms Harris just a fortnight ago, saying on July 29 when asked about her possible selection: "I think she'd be a fine choice, Kamala Harris. She'd be a fine choice."
Ms Harris and Mr Biden announced their first joint appearance on Wednesday in Wilmington, Delaware - Mr Biden’s hometown.
The nomination triggered a donation surge, with ActBlue, the main donation platform for Democrats, saying it saw $10.8 million donations in the four hours after the announcement.
There was near universal support in public from senior elected Democrats who issued statements praising not just the historic nature of the pick but Ms Harris’s credentials.
Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic leader in the House of Representatives, called Ms Harris the “best person Joe Biden could name”. Barack Obama said Mr Biden “nailed this decision”.
The Biden campaign released a video of Mr Biden telling Ms Harris over video call that she had been picked. In the footage Ms Harris says "oh my God" before adding that she is "so ready to go to work".
Positions Ms Harris has taken during her career, rising up as a prosecutor in San Francisco, are likely to be a point of fierce debate over the less than three months remaining before the November 3 vote.
Former colleagues and friends of hers told The Telegraph that Ms Harris has attempted to thread a “third way” between progressives and moderates throughout her political rise.
Hosts on Fox News, the right-leaning news channel much watched by Mr Trump, echoed the Trump campaign’s attacks on Ms Harris on Tuesday evening, one saying she had a “radical extremist record”.
Mike Pence, the current US vice president, claimed the selection of Ms Harris showed the Democrats had been “overtaken by the Radical Left”. The pair will meet in a head-to head debate on October 7.