Kamala Harris shopping trip stirs Twitter campaign trail debate

Kamala Harris shopping trip stirs Twitter campaign trail debate
© Greg Nash

Pundits and media members debated tweets from several reporters covering a shopping trip Saturday by Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisHarris slams DOJ decision not to charge police in Eric Garner's death Harris vows to 'put people over profit' in prescription drug plan The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by JUUL Labs - House to vote to condemn Trump tweet MORE (D-Calif.) while she campaigned in South Carolina.

Twitter users, including some conservative pundits, questioned why journalists appeared in video clips to be urging Harris to select a certain item of clothing during the outing.

Harris tried on a colored sequined jacket in the store and the Democratic presidential candidate later bought the garment, according to reporters traveling with her campaign.  

Fox News political analyst Brit Hume called reporters' tweets about the shopping trip "embarrassing," while questioning why journalists were apparently helping the senator pick out clothes before writing "glowing tweets" about it.

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"This is just embarrassing. So now journalists are going shopping with Harris, helping pick out clothes and then putting out glowing tweets about it," Hume wrote.

Other media members, pundits and Twitter users piled on, questioning the reasons for covering the event and seemingly urging Harris to try on garments.

Caitlin Huey-Burns, a CBS News reporter covering Harris's campaign, responded to critics, noting that reporters asked the candidate policy questions at other stops during the day.

"Harris was on an a tour of small businesses, including this boutique, in Columbia that we were covering as part of several campaign stops," she tweeted in response to Hume.

"She also did two gaggles with reporters, where we asked her a variety of policy questions on immigration, the green new deal, and executive power." 

Several journalists and media analysts defended the coverage Saturday, pointing out that the event was part of Harris's tour of small businesses in Columbia, S.C.

They also noted that candidates have at times in the past had more casual interactions with journalists who cover them on the campaign trail for lengthy periods of time.

"Nobody seemed to have a problem when the candidate was @ScottWalker and the activity was motorcycle riding. Or @MittRomney riding jet skis on vacation. Or skeet shooting with @LindseyGrahamSC. I’m all for female candidates expanding the list of campaign activities," wrote NBC News's Kasie Hunt.

"Reminds me of the glowing tweets that I put out back in the day as Scott Walker hailed cheese popcorn & Mike PenceMichael (Mike) Richard PenceUS military satellites are vulnerable to hacking — but Trump's 'Space Force' could help fix that Jewish group plans DC protest to occupy ICE detention centers Trump to end asylum protections for most Central American migrants at US-Mexico border MORE praised grilled cheese sandwiches," added NBC News reporter Vaughn Hillyard.

Hume maintained that the latest incident "wasn’t coverage, it was participation."

Harris is campaigning this weekend in South Carolina, home to the third contest of the 2020 Democratic primary and an increasingly important early voting state.

Her campaign stops Saturday came on the heels of several endorsements this week from Reps. Barbara LeeBarbara Jean LeeCongress, stop ducking war-declaration authority on Iran Trump's tweets unify a fractured Democratic Party Overnight Defense: House approves 3 billion defense bill | Liberal sweeteners draw progressive votes | Bill includes measure blocking Trump from military action on Iran MORE (D-Calif.) and Ted LieuTed W. LieuTed Lieu: Trump a 'racist ass' House Democrats request briefing on Epstein, Acosta Members to have little time to question Mueller MORE (D-Calif.), as well as California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D), among others.