Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris calls President Donald Trump a racist during an interview with CNN's Kyung Lah. Harris said it is no longer debatable if the president is racist and a white supremacist. The presidential candidate said the president shows no natural ability to have empathy.
Transcript, via CNN:
KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. We're going to ask her about that right away. The reason why we're moving is because this bus is actually moving, Jim. And this is the very first day of the bus tour.
But I want to get to the breaking news about Sue Gordon leaving, second in command at DNI. What do you think about this resignation?
SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I mean, I'm not surprised. I'm on the Senate Intelligence Committee. I meet on a consistent basis with leaders of our intelligence community. They are hard working, they are patriots to their core, and I don't know why she's leaving but I think that this president has been less than supportive of our intelligence community and that the importance of their work and the kind of sacrifice that they put into it.
So, you know, when we have a president who carries the role of Commander-in-Chief, but coddles and cuddles up to strong men around the world when the intelligence community has told us Russia interfered in the election of the president of the United States, but our president prefers to take the word of the Russian president over the word of the intelligence community.
On the issue of the student who was killed, an American student who was killed, the president prefers to take the word of the North Korean dictator over the word of the American intelligence community.
On the subject of a journalist who was assassinated, and a journalist who had American credentials, and he prefers to take the word of a Saudi prince over the word of the American intelligence community.
I think that the people that do that work do it with great purpose and with a sense of real commitment to our nation's security. If you have ever gone to the buildings where they work, you'll see stars on a wall with no names because so much of the work they do is work that they cannot take credit for. So they do this work not for any selfish purpose.
LAH: Let's talk about the president. He recently visited El Paso. Today, there's a video surfacing of him talking about the size of his crowds. You heard what he said after the news conference with Sherrod Brown and the mayor of Dayton, Ohio. Should he have even gone to Dayton and El Paso?
HARRIS: I mean, he's just so -- his preoccupation with size, I'll leave that for someone else to analyze. But I will say that this president has used the platform that is given to the Office of the President of the United States in a way that has been about trying to divide our country. He has used language that has been borne out of hate and he generally shows no evidence of any natural ability to have empathy.
And, you know, so, I mean, of course, the president of the United States should visit and should be in a place that has experienced such tragedy, but I think that this president doesn't really have the capacity to have empathy. And I just -- you know, my heart goes out to not only the families but also the leaders of those communities who are trying to pull it together and stand strong.
LAH: Do you believe, as Elizabeth Warren and Beto O'Rourke have said, that he is a white supremacist?
HARRIS: I think you should ask him that question.
LAH: Are you willing to say that?
HARRIS: I think you should ask him that question. I would be interested to see what his answer is.
LAH: Joe Biden has said today that the president, as what he has done, quote, encourages white supremacy, that he doesn't feel that there's much of a distinction and what he is doing, maybe even worse. Do you concur with those points?
HARRIS: Yes, I think that's absolutely right. I think that's absolutely right. This is a president who has -- I mean, we don't even need -- the sad thing about this is it's no longer really a debatable point. There is just a long list of statements and Tweets and behaviors from this president that make it very clear that he possesses hate aAnd that he is divisive and that he is a racist.
LAH: Is it important to call him a white supremacist though, as some of your competitors have said?
HARRIS: I think it's important to call it what it is, which is that we have a president of the United States who does not reflect the values of who we are as a people. He is someone who gives -- who empowers white supremacists, and who condones their behavior. And that is not the kind of president that I think most Americans can be proud of, much less support.
LAH: Senate Leader Mitch McConnell has signaled that he will at least talk about background checks, the red flag laws as a member of the senate body. What do you think about his shift?
HARRIS: I think he needs to put the bill on the floor for a vote and call all of us back to Washington, D.C. to vote on it right away.
LAH: He doesn't want to call people back, but he says he will make it front and center.
HARRIS: Well, I did train (ph) on this, we have to judge everyone by their conduct, not just their words.
LAH: And we can't let this go without talking about where we are.
HARRIS: We're on the bus.
LAH: Tell me what this is. We're on the bus.
HARRIS: We're right now in Sioux City, Iowa and we are, for the next five days, going to be on this bus traveling throughout Iowa from river to river. We'll be in 11 counties. And talking about the 3:00 A.M. agenda, which is about the issues that wake people up in the middle of the night, and about how we're going to solve those problems. Because I do believe strongly that the American people want a problem solving president. And that's the kind of president I intend to be.
LAH: Do you feel that the problem solving that you're focusing on, not looking at -- I think you said you don't want to talk about structural change or be too ideological. You want to look at solving these kitchen table issues.
HARRIS: I want to solve the things that wake people up in the middle of the night, which is is about healthcare, it's about their -- can they keep a job or get a job, can they pay the bills by the end of the month, those bread and butter issues that literally wake people up in the middle of the night because they are worried about whether they're going to be able to see a week through, much less a month through. Those are my priorities.
LAH: So of the people who have won previously, Trump, make America great again, Barack Obama with hope and change, they've been a bit more sweeping, have a larger vision. You've taken a different route. Do you sense that voters are looking for this versus what we've seen before?
HARRIS: I think that Americans want in a leader somebody who actually sees their life and is interested, and is interested in solving problems people face every day. I think people don't -- they don't want in their leader somebody who's going to just give a beautiful speech and grand gestures, they want action, and action that is about solving the problems that they face every day.
And those are my priorities. Because, look, when it comes down to it, if people can't get through the end of the month, if we can't solve the issues that They deal with every day, what else matters?
LAH: Did you happen to see the video of the children crying when their parents were taken away by ICE agents?
HARRIS: I have not seen the video, but I know about it and I know about the work of ICE under this administration, and it is immoral. These are human rights abuses being committed by the United States government.
I serve on the Senate Homeland Security Committee, from the first day I arrived there about two years ago, I have been taking DHS to task and ICE to task. I was, I think, the first person in the United States Senate to ask about this child separation policy. And it is clear to me that this administration has been not only irresponsible but has literally committed human rights abuses.
And these most recent raids, hundreds of people who are now separated from their families for at least 24 hours, and causing people in our country to be in fear, and in particular, the Latino community. People are in fear all over the country when you combine those raids with what just happened in El Paso.
And again, do you think that this administration and this president might step back and say, wait a minute. After what just happened in El Paso, when it was motivated by hate against immigrants and Latino immigrants, do you think that a responsible leader would have said, don't do those raids?
It just -- it shows a level of insensitivity and callousness that should not be traits of the president of the United States.
KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You brought up El Paso. CNN has been reporting out today about the last 24 hours, that says that the White House rebuffed DHS efforts to focus on domestic terrorism, the White House -- .
HARRIS: I gave a speech about that many, many months ago. I have been talking about this for months. They have shut down the enforcement and the investigations of domestic terrorism.
Meanwhile, we have a president of the United States who is constantly creating terror in the people of our country. Again, Donald Trump is ill-equipped to be president of the United States on so many levels, including the fact that he creates fear in the people of his own country.