Kamala Harris on Principles & Values

Democratic candidate for President (withdrawn); California Senator


January 6th, 2021 will echo throughout history

Certain dates echo throughout history, including dates that instantly remind all who have lived through them -- where they were and what they were doing when our democracy came under assault. Dates that occupy not only a place on our calendars, but a place in our collective memory. December 7th, 1941. September 11th, 2001. And January 6th, 2021.

On that day, I was not only Vice President-elect, I was also a United States senator. And I was here at the Capitol that morning, at a classified hearing with fellow members of the Senate Intelligence Committee. Hours later, the gates of the Capitol were breached.

What the extremists who roamed these halls targeted was not only the lives of elected leaders. What they sought to degrade and destroy was not only a building, hallowed as it is. What they were assaulting were the institutions, the values, the ideals that generations of Americans have marched, picketed, and shed blood to establish and defend.

Source: Biden Administration: Speech on Anniversary of Jan. 6 Riot , Jan 6, 2022

Dual nature of democracy -- fragility and strength

January 6th reflects the dual nature of democracy -- its fragility and its strength.

You see, the strength of democracy is the rule of law. The strength of democracy is the principle that everyone should be treated equally, that elections should be free and fair, that corruption should be given no quarter. The strength of democracy is that it empowers the people.

And the fragility of democracy is this: that if we are not vigilant, if we do not defend it, democracy simply will not stand; it will falter and fail.

The violent assault that took place here, the very fact of how close we came to an election overturned -- that reflects the fragility of democracy.

Yet, the resolve I saw in our elected leaders when I returned to the Senate chamber that night -- their resolve not to yield but to certify the election; their loyalty not to party or person but to the Constitution of the United States -- that reflects its strength. And so, of course, does the heroism of the Capitol Police.

Source: Biden Administration: Speech on Anniversary of Jan. 6 Riot , Jan 6, 2022

Jan. 6 was an exposure of the vulnerability of our democracy

Harris is not scheduled to resign her Senate seat until January 18. Given that Harris has yet to step down, where was she on January 6, the day the U.S. Congress was scheduled to certify she and President-elect Joe Biden as the winners of the November 3 election?

"I was at the Capitol that morning," she told CBS anchor Jane Pauley (via CBS News). "And then I was in a meeting and I was told that I should leave. I was taken to a secure location with my husband, we watched in horror."

Harris admitted that she thought that the January 6 violence, which extended into the halls of the U.S. Capitol, was earth-shattering."It was seismic. It was in many ways a reckoning. It was an exposure of the vulnerability of our democracy. It is outrageous, and we will remember it like we have remembered some of the most significant [dates]. December 7th. We will remember Jan 6--an attack on the foundation and fundamental principles and ideals we hold dear."

Source: The List blog on Jan. 6th Insurrection , Jan 17, 2021

Cut off in Senate questioning: Courage, Not Courtesy

In June 2017, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appeared before the Senate Intel Committee, [to explain] his role in Trump's decision a month earlier to fire FBI Director James Comey. Harris peppered Rosenstein with yes or no questions and interrupted when he started to dodge.

As Harris's questions got increasingly testy, Chairman Richard Burr (R-NC), cut her off. Looking in her direction, Burr said, "Would the senator suspend? The chair is going to exercise its right to let the witness answer the question." Harris, incredulous, was not used to being told to stifle herself.

The exchange went viral immediately: old white senators had "shushed" Harris, the only black woman on the committee. As it exploded on twitter, the rancorous partisan bickering worsened between Democratic and Republican senators and between Democrats and the trump administration. Within hours, Harris and her staff had shrewdly exploited the incident by coming up with a meme: "Courage, not courtesy."

Source: Kamala's Way, by Dan Morain, p.182-3 , Jan 12, 2021

Admires Hindu goddess Kali: warrior & mother figure

Kamala Devi was born in 1964, and her sister, Maya Lakshmi, two years after that. Devi is the Hindu mother goddess. Lakshmi is the Lotus goddess of wealth, beauty, and good fortune. [Kamala's mother] Shayamala gave her daughters names derived from Indian mythology to help preserve their cultural identity and said, "A culture that worships goddesses produces strong women."

In the mid to late 1960's, both parents were involved in the civil rights movement. Harris tells of being wheeled to demonstrations in a stroller. On one occasion, as she was fussing, her mother asked what she wanted. "Fee-dom!" she is said to have answered.

In her first television interview as the candidate, Harris spoke of her admiration for the Hindu goddess Kali, a mythological warrior who protects the innocents by slaying evil. In a classic depiction, Kali holds the head of a slayed demon, has a necklace of several heads, and wears a skirt of bloody arms. Harris also noted that Kali is a mother figure.

Source: Kamala's Way, by Dan Morain, p. 3&51 , Jan 12, 2021

We have broad support and will bring integrity back

We have the support of Democrats, but also independents and Republicans. Seven members of George W. Bush's cabinet are supporting us. We have the support of Colin Powell, Cindy McCain, John Kasich, over 500 generals, retired generals and former national security experts. They know Joe Biden has a commitment to bring integrity back to the White House. We will not let anyone subvert our democracy as Donald Trump did on the debate stage when he openly attempted to suppress the vote.
Source: 2020 Vice-Presidential Debate in Utah , Oct 7, 2020

Biden is my model for being a great vice president

HARRIS: Joe Biden is, for me, a model of what makes for a great vice president and the model for me if and when God willing we win this election. What he did as a partner to Barack Obama, what he did in terms of leading on very significant issues in support of Barack Obama is really inspirational for me as a model of how I intend to do the job. We have a commitment to each other so in many ways after he chose me, I chose him too.
Source: ABC This Week 2020 National Convention David Muir Q&A , Aug 23, 2020

OpEd: Checks gender and race boxes, but not a progressive

Joe Biden's pick of Kamala Harris as his running mate will surely satisfy Democratic Party insiders who were hoping for him to balance the ticket. As a woman of color, Harris kills two birds with one stone by ticking both the gender and race boxes. But the prospect of her becoming vice president is nothing to look forward to. She's overwhelmingly spent her career, both before and after entering politics, fighting for reactionary policies that completely obliterate the credibility of her claim to be any kind of progressive.

But there's something deeper going on here. Because Harris represents not just the center-right policy positions of the Democratic establishment. She is also an illustrative example of the kind of empty, tokenistic brand of identity politics that this establishment uses to give its major figures political cover.

Source: Counterpunch.org political e-zine on 2020 Veepstakes , Aug 17, 2020

Impeachment: McConnell doesn't want trial, wants cover-up

Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, appears more interested in covering up the president's misconduct than in pursuing truth and fairness. He is already trying to limit the impeachment trial by preventing witnesses from testifying, and he has all but announced a verdict. In doing so, he showed the American people that he has no intention of honoring his oath. Let's be clear: Mr. McConnell doesn't want a Senate trial. He wants a Senate cover-up.
Source: New York Times 2019 OpEd by Sen. Harris on impeaching Trump , Dec 18, 2019

Trump committed crimes in plain sight

He has committed crimes in plain sight. Our framers imagined this moment, a moment where we would have a corrupt president. And our framers then rightly designed our system of democracy to say there will be checks and balances. This is one of those moments. Congress must ask but the reality of it is that I don't really think this impeachment process is going to take very long because as a former prosecutor, I know a confession when I see it.
Source: October Democratic Primary debate on impeaching Trump , Oct 15, 2019

We have much more in common than what separates us

The vast majority of us have so much more in common than what separates us. And I guess that's why I'm running. I do believe that to beat Donald Trump, but also to heal our country. We need a leader who has the ability to unify our country and see that the vast majority of us have so much more in common than what separates us.
Source: October Democratic CNN/NYTimes Primary debate , Oct 15, 2019

The power of a president's support will help LGBTQ youth

Q: How would your administration address the crisis of LGBTQ youth suicide?

HARRIS: One of the most powerful tools in the hands of the president is that microphone she holds. The real strength of a leader is based not on who you beat down, it's based on who you lift up. We have to create a safe place for those youth to go, where they can be in a peer- based place, where they can talk about how they are experiencing the world in a way that nurtures and strengthens them.

Source: CNN LGBT Town Hall 2020 , Oct 10, 2019

Commonalities unite us more than racism divides us

President Trump, you have used hate, intimidation, and fear. Here's what you don't get: the people are so much better than this. The vast majority of us have so much more in common than what separates us, regardless of our race, where we live, or the party with which we're registered to vote. And I plan on focusing on our common issues, our common hopes and desires, and in that way, unifying our country, winning this election, and turning the page for America.
Source: September Democratic Primary debate in Houston , Sep 12, 2019

Trump should be prosecuted for obstruction of justice

Q: You have criticized President Trump for interfering with the Justice Department, but you said if you were elected president, your Justice Department "have no choice and should go forward with obstruction of justice charges against former President Trump." Why is it OK for you to advocate for the Justice Department to prosecute somebody, but not OK for President Trump to make a similar request?

HARRIS: I would never direct the Department of Justice to do whatever it believes it should do. But we all watched the Mueller testimony. I've read the report. There are 10 clear incidents of obstruction of justice by this president, and he needs to be held accountable. I have seen people go to prison for far less. And we have a person in the White House right now who has been shielded by a memo that says a sitting president cannot be indicted. The American people are right to say there should be consequence and accountability for everyone and no one is above the law, including the president.

Source: July Democratic Primary debate, on Mueller Report , Jul 31, 2019

Fight for the best of who we are

This is an inflection moment in the history of our country. This is a moment requiring us each as individuals and collectively to look in a mirror and ask, "Who are we?" Part of the answer to that question is we are better than this. This is not a new fight for us as Americans. We have always been prepared to fight for our ideals. We have always been a nation that fights for the best of who we are.
Source: July Democratic Primary debate (second night in Detroit) , Jul 31, 2019

Stepchildren call her "Momala" instead of "stepmother"

Kamala is married to Douglas Emhoff. She has two stepchildren who are Douglas's from a previous relationship. Contrary to what she feared, Cole and Ella, the step kids, were not hostile towards her and chose to call her Momala instead of stepmom. In their opinion, the word stepmother has been vilified by Disney and wouldn't be appropriate to use to address Kamala, who they care deeply about.

The two step children get along very well with their step mother. They thought about it and came up with the conclusion that they should put the word mom and the word kamala together and just like that, they picked a name that stuck with her.

Source: The Democrats, by Alexander Moore, p.174-7 , Jul 9, 2019

A president who leads with dignity, honesty, truth

This election is about your hopes and dreams and what wakes you up at 3 o'clock in the morning. That's why I have what I call a 3 a.m. agenda that is about everything from what we need to do to deliver health care to how you will be able to pay the bills by the end of the month. I will be a president who leads with a sense of dignity, with honesty, speaking the truth, and giving the American family all that they need to get through the end of the month in a way that allows them to prosper.
Source: June Democratic Primary debate (second night in Miami) , Jun 27, 2019

Words matter; leaders cannot be ignorant of history of race

Q: Biden said segregationist senators called him "son;" they would've called a black man "boy." Is that offensive to you?

Harris: We cannot be ignorant of the history of race in this country. That is a very loaded term, loaded with a history that includes extreme racism, violence, discrimination, prejudice, you name it. I think it is very important that we who are leaders choose our words carefully understanding the significance and the power of our word.

Source: CBS Face the Nation 2019 interview , Jun 23, 2019

FactCheck: Constitutionally eligible to run for presidency

In January 2019, Jacob Wohl--a Twitter political troll--dipped his toes into the topic of constitutional law, asserting his view that 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Senator Kamala Harris was constitutionally ineligible to hold the office of President of the United States: "Kamala Harris is NOT eligible to be President. Her father arrived from Jamaica in 1961--mother from India arrived in 1960. Neither parent was a legal resident for 5 years prior to Harris's birth, a requirement for naturalization. Kamala was raised in Canada."

The constitutional requirements for the office of U.S. president have nothing to do with the naturalization status of one's parents, but do include requirement of 14 years' residency in the US. Though Harris spent her high school years in Canada, she has been resident in the US since 1982. She was born in Oakland California, in 1964, and is a natural-born citizen, fulfilling all the requirements to be constitutionally eligible to run for president.

Source: Snopes.com Fact-Check on 2020 presidential hopefuls , Jan 28, 2019

Co-sponsored Do No Harm Act: keep church and state separate

The Do No Harm Act, a bill that's designed to ensure that the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) continues to provide important protections for religious exercise while clarifying that RFRA may not be used to discriminate against or otherwise harm others, was introduced in the Senate in May. Kamala Harris co-introduced the legislation.

Americans United supports the legislation. AU's President said that "the Do No Harm Act will ensure that we honor two core American values: religious freedom and the promise of equal protection under the law."

Congress enacted the federal RFRA in 1993 with the goal of protecting religious freedom, especially for religious minorities. At that time, a broad coalition of progressive & conservative groups supported the law. But since then, the federal RFRA has been misinterpreted by some courts and has become a vehicle for those who want to use religion to undermine protections for civil rights and access to health care.

Source: Church & State Magazine, AU.org, on 2020 Democratic primary , Aug 8, 2018

First Indian-American to serve in the U.S. Senate

Kamala Harris' win will make her the first Indian American to serve in the U.S. Senate. She will also be just the second black woman to serve in the U.S. Senate, and the first black senator from California.

Harris' race and ethnicity were never a focal point of the contest, which she was projected to win handily. Many people focused more on the possibility that California might have elected the first Latina to the Senate if Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-Orange) had won.

Harris' mother, Dr. Shyamala Harris, emigrated from India. Her father, Donald Harris, emigrated from Jamaica. According to the U.S. Senate's website, just nine black Americans have ever served in the Senate. Democrat Carol Moseley Braun of Illinois became the first black woman to serve in the body in 1993. A handful of Indian Americans have served in the U.S. House, including California's Dalip Singh Saund from 1957 to 1963 and current Rep. Ami Bera (D-Elk Grove), who was first elected in 2012.

Source: Los Angeles Times on 2016 California Senate race results , Nov 9, 2016

Grandfather served as high-level diplomat in India

Every two years we traveled to India, where my earliest memories are of walking along the beach where my grandfather and his friends, retired public servants who had spent their careers in the government, working to solve public problems. I would listen to them talk about politics, corruption, and reform. My grandfather would talk to me about the importance of doing the right thing, the just thing. He was part of the movement for India to gain independence, and later became Joint Secretary for the Indian government, a post akin to our Deputy Secretary of State. He had numerous foreign service assignments, including several years as an advisor to the newly independent government of Zambia in Africa. My grandmother was betrothed to him at age twelve and began living with him at sixteen, and she was quite a force in her own right. After they were married, she would sometimes take to the streets with a bullhorn to talk to poor women about how they could get birth control.
Source: Smart on Crime, by Kamala Harris, "Preface" , Oct 7, 2009

Question Trump on Emoluments clause.

Harris signed questioning Trump on Emoluments clause

Excerpts from Letter from 17 Senators to Trump Organization: The Trump Organization`s continuing financial relationship with President Trump raises concerns about whether it is a pass-through for income that violates the Constitution`s two Emoluments Clauses: Article I, Section 9, Clause 8 on foreign Emoluments; and Article II, Clause 7 on domestic Emoluments. Please answer the following questions to help Congress understand:

Legal Analysis: (Cato Institute, `Emoluments Clause vs. Trump Empire,` 11/29/16): The wording of the Emoluments clause points one way to resolution: Congress can give consent, as it did in the early years of the Republic to presents received by Ben Franklin. It can decide what it is willing to live with in the way of Trump conflicts. If it misjudges public opinion, it will pay a political price at the next election.

FOIA argument: (ACLU Center for Democracy, `FOIA Request,` 1/19/17): We filed our first Freedom of Information Act request of the Trump Era, seeking documents relating President Trump`s conflicts of interest relating to his business connections. When Trump took the oath of office, he didn`t take the steps necessary to ensure that he and his family`s business interests comply with the Constitution. Some have even argued that upon taking the oath of office, the new president is already violating the Emoluments Clause.

Source: Letter from 17 Senators 17LTR-EMOL on May 18, 2017

Certify 2020 Presidential election as fully & fairly counted.

Harris voted NAY blocking certification of the Electoral vote

Explanation of 1/6/21 Electoral Certification, by Emily Brooks, Washington Examiner:Sen. Ted Cruz and Rep. Paul Gosar led an objection to counting Electoral College votes from the state of Arizona, the first formal objection to state results in a series of moves that will delay the certification of Joe Biden as the winner of the 2020 presidential election over President Trump. Cruz is advocating for an `emergency 10-day audit` of election returns in disputed states. The usually ceremonial joint session of Congress that convenes to count and accept Electoral College votes will be put on hold as the House and Senate separately debate the objection.