Gabbard says Harris should apologize to people who 'suffered under your reign'

Rep. Tulsi GabbardTulsi GabbardFive takeaways from the Democratic debate As Buttigieg rises, Biden is still the target Gabbard, Buttigieg battle over use of military in Mexico MORE (Hawaii) fiercely attacked Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisFive takeaways from the Democratic debate Gabbard, Buttigieg battle over use of military in Mexico Leading Democrats largely pull punches at debate MORE (Calif.) over her record as California attorney general during Tuesday's Democratic primary debate, saying Harris must apologize to the people who “suffered under your reign as prosecutor.”

In a tough exchange between the two presidential candidates on Wednesday night in Detroit, Gabbard accused Harris of locking up scores of racial minorities for low-level drug offenses; accused her of hiding evidence that would free an innocent man on death row; and said she kept people imprisoned for longer sentences to use them as cheap prison labor.

ADVERTISEMENT

“When you were in a position to impact these people’s lives you did not and worse yet in the case of those on death row, innocent people, you actually blocked evidence that would have freed them, until you were forced to do that, and the people who suffered under your reign as prosecutor, you owe them an apology,” Gabbard said.

Harris maintained that she oversaw criminal justice reform as attorney general, and she swiped back at Gabbard, saying it’s easy to give speeches condemning someone but that as attorney general, she had to deal with real world problems.

“I did the work of significantly changing the criminal justice system and I’m proud of that work, to not just give fancy speeches or be in a legislative body and give speeches on the floor but actually doing the work,” Harris said.

That exchange came after Harris confronted Biden for opposing a federal busing program decades ago that was aimed at integrating schools.

“When Vice President Biden was in the United States Senate working with segregationists to oppose busing, which was the vehicle by which we would integrate public schools,” Harris said.

“Had those segregationists had their way, I would not be a member of the U.S. Senate, Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerFive takeaways from the Democratic debate As Buttigieg rises, Biden is still the target Leading Democrats largely pull punches at debate MORE would not be a member of the U.S. Senate and Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaAs Buttigieg rises, Biden is still the target Debate gives Democrats a chance to focus on unaddressed issues of concern to black voters Is Joe Biden finished? MORE would not have been in a position to nominate him to the title he now holds,” Harris added. “On that issue we could not be more apart. The vice president has still failed to acknowledge it was wrong to take the position he took.”

Biden went after Harris’s record as attorney general, saying that under her watch California had two districts that were more segregated than any in the country and accused her of turning a blind eye to rogue police departments.