Kamala Harris jabs Trump in remarks before State of the Union
Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), who’s running for president in 2020, made sweeping calls for unity and better opportunities for middle- and working-class Americans, while indirectly taking swipes at President Trump’s “insincere appeals to unity” ahead of his State of the Union address.
Harris delivered a prebuttal on Facebook Live about an hour before Trump’s prime-time, televised speech at 9 p.m. ET. In her nearly eight-minute speech, Harris didn’t address the president by name, but made pointed criticisms about his policies that she argued would continue to divide the country.
“If last year’s remarks are any guide, we’re in store not for a speech that’ll seek to draw us together as Americans, but one that seeks to score political points by driving us apart,” Harris said on Tuesday night. “We will hear insincere appeals to unity, but what we need is a policy agenda that calls on better angels of our nature.”
Harris also called for “welcoming” refugees and immigrants into the country and specifically targeted Trump’s push for a wall along the southern border.
Trump’s State of the Union address was postponed until after the 35-day partial government shutdown ended. The closure stemmed from an impasse over Trump’s demand for $5.7 billion in funding for his border wall.
“I want everyone to remember this: The strength of our union has never been found in the walls we build,” Harris said. “It’s in our diversity and unity, and that is our power.”
In her live-streamed speech, Harris also made appeals for leaders and lawmakers to address climate change, criminal justice reform and “the realities of racism, sexism, anti-Semitism, homophobia and transphobia.”
Harris has been an outspoken critic of Trump and has garnered national attention for her scrutiny of the president’s nominees as a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
The California Democrat announced her presidential campaign on Martin Luther King Jr. Day and held her first rally a week later in her hometown of Oakland, Calif. Prior to her election to the Senate in 2016, Harris served as California attorney general. She is also a former federal prosecutor.
Harris made headlines in a recent CNN town hall when she said she’d support eliminating private health insurance companies. She’s a co-sponsor on Sen. Bernie Sanders’s (I-Vt.) “Medicare for All” legislation that would implement a government-run single-payer health care system and get rid of private insurance.
A number of other White House hopefuls are also supportive of “Medicare for all,” but they are split on whether they back doing away with private insurance companies.
Democrat Stacey Abrams, who narrowly lost the Georgia governor race in 2018, will deliver the Democrats’ response to Trump’s State of the Union Tuesday night. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra (D) will give the Spanish-language Democratic response.
And Sanders, who is still weighing another White House run in 2020, will deliver his own response following Abrams’s comments. This will be the third time Sanders gives his own rebuttal to the televised annual address.
Harris is running in a crowded Democratic field that includes fellow Sens. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.).
“California liberal Kamala Harris is so blinded by her opposition to President Trump that, before he can speak about his bipartisan agenda at the State of the Union, she tried to advance her divisive leftist agenda of government-run health care, higher taxes, and open borders,” Republican National Committee spokesman Steve Guest said in a statement.
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