Harris defends confronting Biden on busing at debate: 'We must speak the truth'

Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisThe Hill's Coronavirus Report: Dybul interview; Boris Johnson update Biden hosts potential VP pick Gretchen Whitmer on podcast Why Gretchen Whitmer's stock is rising with Team Biden MORE (D-Calif.) on Sunday defended challenging Joe BidenJoe BidenOvernight Health Care: US hits 10,000 coronavirus deaths | Trump touts 'friendly' talk with Biden on response | Trump dismisses report on hospital shortages as 'just wrong' | Cuomo sees possible signs of curve flattening in NY We need to be 'One America,' the polling says — and the politicians should listen 16 things to know today about coronavirus MORE over his opposition to federally mandated busing during last week's presidential debate.

“It may make people uncomfortable to speak the truth about the history of our country, but we must speak the truth and we must agree that there not only is fact that is the basis for these truths but that we should recommit ourselves to also agreeing that these things should never happen again," the California lawmaker told reporters while she was in San Francisco to celebrate Pride. 

“And that was the purpose of me bringing it up on that stage,” she said.

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During last week's Democratic primary debate in Miami, Harris challenged Biden's opposition in the 1970s to busing black students to majority white schools, noting that she personally benefited from such busing. 

"There was a little girl in California who was part of the second class to integrate her public schools, and she was bused to school every day," Harris said to Biden. "That little girl was me."

Biden called Harris's criticism a "mischaracterization" of his views and said his issue was with the Department of Education administering busing policies.

Harris also criticized Biden for saying that there had been "civility" when he worked with segregationist Sens. James Eastland (D-Miss.) and Herman Talmadge (D-Ga.) in the 1970s.

The exchange during the debate was seen as a big moment for Harris, who has received a surge of support and donations in its wake.