Harris discussing her mother’s death: ‘I promised myself I was not going to tear up’

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), a 2020 presidential contender, became emotional when she discussed her mother’s death in a clip released Thursday of her interview with health care activist Ady Barkan for ABC.

In the clip, Barkan, a Medicare for All advocate who has ALS,  asks the California senator about the day her mother, Shyamala Gopalan, was diagnosed with colon cancer, which Harris has frequently discussed.

{mosads}”She took our hands and she said she’d been diagnosed with colon cancer,” Harris tells Barkan, referencing herself and her sister Maya. “That was one of the worst days of my life, truly. But, you know, it is also, as, you know, and your family knows …”

Harris then pauses and whispers “just give me a second” as her voice audibly breaks.

“It is about going through a system that is complicated,” she says, upon regaining her composure. “There are elements of it that work, and elements of it that did not work.” She then pauses again to retrieve tissues, adding “I promised myself I was not going to tear up.”

Barkan’s ALS has resulted in almost complete paralysis since he was diagnosed with the neurodegenerative disease in 2016, and he speaks through a computer that monitors his eye movements. He has interviewed several other Democratic candidates as well, including Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) earlier this week, crediting him for bringing “Medicare-for-All to the mainstream.”


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