Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) shared a blistering criticism of President Donald Trump’s ongoing attacks against a coalition of progressive lawmakers on Tuesday evening, saying his behavior “defiles” the White House and that he had taken the presidency to a “new low.”
“I think it’s un-American. It is unbecoming of the president of the United States,” Harris told CNN’s Kyung Lah. “I think it defiles the office of the president of the United States. It is irresponsible, it is hateful, it is hurtful and he has taken the presidency to a new low.”
She later said Trump “needs to go back where he came from and leave that office.”
Harris, a 2020 presidential candidate hoping to unseat Trump next year, was commenting on Trump’s feud with a squad of freshman Democrats in Congress, namely Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.), Ayanna Pressley (Mass.), Ilhan Omar (Minn.) and Rashida Tlaib (Mich.). On Sunday, Trump tweeted that such lawmakers should “go back” to other countries if they were dissatisfied with the state of things in America. All four are American citizens, and only Omar was born overseas: Her family emigrated from a Kenyan refugee camp when she was a child and she is originally from Somalia.
Many have called the missives overtly racist, saying they played into white nationalist talking points. The group of lawmakers echoed those criticisms during a press conference this week, and Omar has since leveled fierce criticism at the president, calling him the “worst” leader America has had.
Trump has doubled down on his critiques amid the controversy, and few Republicans have stepped up to hold him accountable for the remarks. Instead, Congressional Democrats on Tuesday voted largely along party lines to condemn his remarks as racist (four Republicans and one Independent voted to do so as well).
Harris said at an event earlier Tuesday in Iowa that she, too, had been told growing up to go back to where she’d come from. But the senator told Lah later that evening it was one thing to hear such comments at school and “another thing to hear that from the president.”
“The strength of the office should be to lift people up and not beat them down,” Harris said. “But this president, I guess, thinks that he becomes stronger by those who he pushes down.”
Harris later said she believed Trump was merely manufacturing a fight with Democrats because he “wants to distract by … lighting fires around the issue of race and ethnicity. It’s disgusting.”
She continued: “I think it is a turn for this president. Could it get any worse? Apparently yes, it just did. How low can he go?”