Harris and Pelosi make history at Biden’s joint address to Congress as president says ‘it’s about time’

‘Madame Speaker, Madame Vice President. No president has ever said those words from this podium’

Oliver O'Connell
New York
Thursday 29 April 2021 04:25
Leer en Español

Ahead of Joe Biden’s joint address of Congress, Kamala Harris had a sublime one-word answer when asked about the importance of a particular detail of the event.

As she passed through the corridors of the US Capitol the vice president was asked about the historic significance of there being two women sitting behind the president on the House rostrum.

She replied simply: “Normal.”

With Ms Harris as the first female vice president and Nancy Pelosi as the Speaker of the House of Representatives, this is the first time two women have appeared behind a sitting president as they address Congress.

Ms Harris’ sharp response was greeted enthusiastically on Twitter, with users tweeting: “the right answer”, “Yes! Normal. Love it”, and “like a boss”.

As the president began his remarks he greeted: “Madame Speaker, Madame Vice President.”

“No president has ever said those words from this podium, no president has ever said those words. And it’s about time.”

As he handed Ms Harris a copy of his speech he told her: “I’ve waited a long time to do this.”

Former Trump White House communications director Alyssa Farah tweeted: “I disagree with them on 99% of policy, but, man, it’s pretty cool to see 2 women: the Speaker & the VP preside over a joint session of Congress for the 1st time in history.”

Washington representative Pramila Jayapal tweeted a photo of the two women standing before Congress and tweeted: “Madam Vice President Kamala Devi Harris!”

She followed, writing: “Incredible to see a President with two powerful women behind him as Vice President and Speaker of the House.”

This is Ms Harris’ first time sitting behind the president at an address to Congress, but Ms Pelosi has sat in the same seat on many occasions, with Mr Biden being her fourth president.

During her two stints as speaker, Ms Pelosi has also presided over the House under presidents George W Bush, Barack Obama, and Donald Trump.

During Mr Trump’s final state of the union speech in 2020, she memorably ripped up her copy of the president’s remarks after he finished delivering them.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

View comments