Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) delivered a scathing rebuke of President Donald Trump’s discriminatory rhetoric on Sunday, blaming him for adding “new fuel” to the nation’s old forms of hatred and calling the next election a matter of security.
In a speech in Detroit, the 2020 presidential candidate noted the blind eye Trump consistently turns to racism, including his defense of some of those participating in a deadly 2017 white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, and his denigration of African countries during a 2018 closed-door White House meeting “with foul language no president should speak.”
“This president isn’t trying to make America great,” Harris said at an NAACP Freedom Fund dinner. “He’s trying to make America hate. So it is critical to our security, our dignity and our unity as a nation when I say we need a new president.”
Trump and Harris squared off last week when the president told Fox Business Network that she was “probably very nasty,” reacting to widespread attention she received for her tough questioning of Attorney General William Barr at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing last week on special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
Responding to the jab on CNN, Harris laughed, saying “God only knows” what the comment meant and slamming Trump for attempting to obstruct justice rather than pursue it.
Mueller’s report of his investigation left open the prospect that Trump obstructed the inquiry; Barr then ruled he did not.
Continuing to take on the president in her Sunday remarks, Harris condemned Trump’s failure to foster national unity and call out white supremacy.
“It’s time we had a president who brings people together rather than rip them apart,” she said. “It’s time we had a president who speaks out against hate in all its forms. It’s time we had a president who’s not scared to call neo-Nazi violence what it is: domestic terrorism.”
The Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville quickly turned rally and counter-protester Heather Heyer was killed when a white supremacist who plowed his car into the crowd. Two Virginia state policemen who were part of the security response to gathering also died when their helicopter crashed. Trump infamously argued there were “very fine people on both sides.”
Last month, he attempted to explain away the line by claiming that he was referring to people opposing the removal of the city’s Robert E. Lee statue ― a blatant falsehood.