The primary rivals of Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., came to her defense over the weekend, pushing back against a claimed fueled by Donald Trump Jr. that she isn’t an “American black.”
During the Thursday night presidential debate, Harris pointedly challenged former Vice President Joe Biden’s record on race. At one point, she noted that she was the beneficiary of a busing program as a child in Berkeley, Calif.
“There was a little girl in California who was part of the second class to integrate her public school, and she bused to school every day,” Harris said. “And that little girl was me. So I will tell you that on this subject, it cannot be an intellectual debate among Democrats. We have to take it seriously. We have to act swiftly.”
On Twitter, Trump Jr. promoted a post questioning the racial identity of Harris, the Oakland-born biracial child of a Jamaican father and Indian mother.
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“Kamala Harris is *not* an American black. She is half Indian and half Jamaican,” the tweet shared by Trump Jr. said.
“Is this true? Wow,” Trump Jr. added before deleting his tweet.
His spokesman labeled it a misunderstanding, saying that “once he saw that folks were misconstruing the intent of his tweet, he quickly deleted it,” according to the New York Times.
All of Harris’s major primary rivals united in her defense.
Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., was perhaps the bluntest.
Sen. Bernie Sanders, independent-Vt., called out Trump Jr. by name and connected his debate tweet to President Trump, who spent years promoting the “birther” conspiracy theory that former President Obama was not born in the U.S.
Biden, who had sparred with Harris during the debate, did the same without naming Trump Jr.
“There’s a long history of black Americans being told they don’t belong—and millions are kept down and shut out to this day,” said former Rep. Beto O’Rourke, D-Texas.
South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg further condemned “birther-style” attacks.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., called the attacks “racist and ugly.”
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee labeled them “racist and vile.”
While Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., blasted such “vile behavior.”
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., directly said: “This is racism.”
Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, similarly weighed in, as well as New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, Rep. Seth Moulton, D-Mass., and Montana Gov. Steve Bullock.
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