“Go easy on me, kid!” Biden said to the California senator as she walked onto the debate stage. The two laughed and shook hands as the other candidates took the stage.
Some people on Twitter found Biden’s comments to be condescending.
″Yes, Joe Biden said, “go easy on me kid” to Kamala Harris when they shook hands. Yes, that is totally obnoxious,” author Jessica Valenti tweeted.
Twitter user Ariel Gold called the exchange “patronizing,” tweeting: “Biden started out the debates by patronizing a woman of color.”
The two presidential contenders faced off during the last Democratic debate in June when Harris confronted Biden on his past comments about segregation and school busing. She called out the former vice president for praising his work with two Southern segregationist senators decades ago.
“I do not believe you are a racist. And I agree with you when you commit yourself to the importance of finding common ground,” Harris told him during the June debate. “But it was hurtful to hear you talk about the reputations of two United States senators who built their reputations and career on the segregation of race in this country.”
The exchange quickly became the most noteworthy moment of the night, giving Harris a notable uptick in support in the weeks following the debate. Biden initially defended himself and claimed his words were taken out of context. He later said that he regretted his remarks.