Kamala Harris to young Black women at conference: 'I want you to be ambitious'

Kamala Harris to young Black women at conference: 'I want you to be ambitious'
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Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisRNC targets McAuliffe, Biden campaign event with mobile billboard Obama looks to give new momentum to McAuliffe Kamala Harris engages with heckler during New York speech MORE (D-Calif.), who is in consideration to be former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden to meet House Dems before Europe trip: report 21 House Democrats call for removing IRS bank reporting proposal from spending bill Overnight Health Care — Presented by Altria — Vulnerable House Dems push drug pricing plan MORE’s running mate, appeared to respond to criticism that she was “too ambitious” on Friday while speaking to an audience of young Black women.  

"There will be a resistance to your ambition. There will be people who say to you, 'You are out of your lane,'" Harris said during a livestreamed conversation for the Black Girls Lead 2020 conference, according to CNN.

"They are burdened by only having the capacity to see what has always been instead of what can be. But don't you let that burden you," she added. "I want you to be ambitious." 


Harris, who is of Jamaican and Indian descent, is the second Black woman to be elected to the Senate and would be the country's first Black and Asian vice presidential candidate. If elected, she'd be the first woman and the first nonwhite person to fill the office.

Her comments came after CNBC reported that unnamed allies of Biden, the presumptive 2020 Democratic nominee, considered Harris to be “too ambitious.” 

On Monday, Politico reported that former Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), who is on Biden’s search committee, said Harris had not apologized for pointed remarks toward Biden during a Democratic primary debate. 

“She laughed and said, ‘that’s politics.’ She had no remorse,” Dodd told a Biden supporter and donor, Politico reported. 

Harris said Friday that she has dealt with those attacks and criticisms her entire career.

Observers quickly pointed out the pattern of women being considered “too ambitious” or facing other criticisms that men hardly face. 

In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, former Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidHarry Reid calls on Democrats to plow forward on immigration Democrats brace for tough election year in Nevada The Memo: Biden's horizon is clouded by doubt MORE (D-Nev.) defended Harris, calling it “very unfair.” 

“Do we ever hear anyone that’s a man, saying he’s too ambitious? Why do they say her? I think it’s because she’s a woman,” he said.

Biden has committed to choosing a woman as his vice president and has faced pressure from some party leaders to choose a woman of color. Harris is one of several Black women who are being considered for the job, including Rep. Karen BassKaren Ruth BassBlack Caucus pushes for priorities in final deal Rep. Brown to run for Maryland attorney general Democratic retirements could make a tough midterm year even worse MORE (D-Calif.) and former Obama national security adviser Susan Rice, all of whom have been gaining attention in recent weeks. 

Bass, the chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus, expressed annoyance with comparisons between herself and Harris, questioning why the same wasn't being done with white women who are being considered for vice president, such as Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) and Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenOvernight Energy & Environment — Presented by American Clean Power — Democrats prepare to grill oil execs Manchin dampens progressive hopes for billionaires tax Merkley, Warren and Markey sound alarm over 'dirty' hydrogen provision in climate deal MORE (D-Mass.).

“Why are you comparing me with her?” she asked Friday on “The Breakfast Club” a syndicated radio show. “Why don’t you compare Whitmer with Warren?”