Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) said she blames Russian bots for helping stir up the frenzy that Donald Trump, then a candidate for president, helped set off over Colin Kaepernick taking a knee during the national anthem at National Football League games.
Now, she said, the bots are coming after her. “We already know we are” being targeted, the presidential candidate said Friday on the New York radio show “The Breakfast Club.”
Trump repeatedly blasted Kaepernick for taking a knee as the 2016 NFL season was gearing up to protest racial injustice and police brutality. Trump claimed the then-San Francisco 49ers quarterback, who is black, was disrespecting the flag and the military. But the flames over the issue were fanned by Russian bots, Harris said.
Referring to “the heat that ended up around bend-the-knee and Colin Kaepernick,” she said that “many smart people have said that actually was not a thing.”
“The Russian bots started taking that on,” she said. Noting that the Russians know that race is a particularly incendiary issue among the U.S., she continued, “We have to know when we’re being played,” she said.
Harris didn’t specify issues that the Kremlin may be targeting concerning her. But evidence of bot activity emerged in a recent attack on her after her breakout performance in the June 27 debate among many several of the Democratic presidential contenders.
She was criticized on social media by some right-wingers who claimed she had no right to represent American blacks because her father was born in Jamaica (her mother was born in India). Certain messages were replicated word for word and posted several times, which is often evidence of bot activity.
Harris also warned: “As a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, I will tell you that we should believe exactly what the Intelligence community has told us, which is Russia did interfere in the election of the president of the United States in 2016 ... [and] 2020 ... might be worse than 2016.”
Check out what Harris had to say about Kaepernick in the clip above.
The complete interview is here: