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

Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisBooker leads other 2020 Dems in petition urging DNC to change debate qualifications Sanders revokes congressional endorsement for Young Turks founder Cenk Uygur The Hill's Campaign Report: 2020 Democrats trading jabs ahead of Los Angeles debate MORE (D-Calif.) on Sunday defended challenging Joe BidenJoe BidenNew York Times editorial board calls for Trump's impeachment Graham invites Giuliani to testify about recent Ukraine trip Booker leads other 2020 Dems in petition urging DNC to change debate qualifications 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.