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 HarrisCandidates on Biden's VP list were asked what they thought Trump would nickname them as part of process: report Bass on filling Harris's Senate spot: 'I'll keep all my options open' Election security advocates see strong ally in Harris MORE (D-Calif.), who is in consideration to be former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenRon Johnson signals some GOP senators concerned about his Obama-era probes On The Money: Pelosi, Mnuchin talk but make no progress on ending stalemate | Trump grabs 'third rail' of politics with payroll tax pause | Trump uses racist tropes to pitch fair housing repeal to 'suburban housewife' Biden commemorates anniversary of Charlottesville 'Unite the Right' rally: 'We are in a battle for the soul of our nation' 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." 

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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.

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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 ReidKamala Harris makes history — as a Westerner McConnell goes hands-off on coronavirus relief bill Kamala Harris to young Black women at conference: 'I want you to be ambitious' 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 BassBass on filling Harris's Senate spot: 'I'll keep all my options open' Newsom says he has already received a number of pitches for Harris's open Senate seat Chris Wallace: Kamala Harris 'not far to the left despite what Republicans are gonna try to say' 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 WarrenNew poll shows Markey with wide lead over Kennedy in Massachusetts Trump and allies grapple with how to target Harris Chris Wallace: Kamala Harris 'not far to the left despite what Republicans are gonna try to say' 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?”