Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-HI) reacts to presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden's decision to pick Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) as his running mate in an interview with CNN's Anderson Cooper.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN: Our breaking news tonight, Joe Biden has picked Senator Kamala Harris as his running mate. Large part of Senator Harris's national profile was built upon her work on the Senate Judiciary Committee, where the newly named Democratic vice-presidential nominee received praise from Democrats for her intense questioning of nominees like Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh and Attorney General William Barr.
It's also where our next guest got to know Senator Harris. Joining us now is her fellow Judiciary Committee member, Senator Mazie Hirono. Senator Hirono, thanks for being with us.
SEN. MAZIE HIRONO (D-HI): Aloha, Anderson.
COOPER: Aloha. You're wondering what your reaction is to this pick.
HIRONO: I was delighted, actually, the first words out of my mouth were yippie, I do know that the other senators are my friends and of course, all the other potential candidates who are people I deeply admire. But Kamala, I've got to know, particularly sitting on the Judiciary Committee and you just heard from Cory Booker, the three of us sit next to each other on the Judiciary Committee and Kamala refers us as people of color on the Democratic side of that committee. So, we often vote together, and we clearly are on the same page on so many issues.
And yes, her questioning Barr, I was very delighted with her because the way Kamala questions our witnesses, she brings a prosecutorial experience to it. So, I enjoy watching her. But of course, I was there because both of us were going after Barr that day. And Joe Biden was looking for somebody tough, smart, ready to lead. And he got that from Kamala, in Kamila.
COOPER: President Trump actually attacked her today for her questioning during then Judge Kavanaugh's confirmation hearing. I just want to play what President Trump said today and then also play some of her exchange with Judge Kavanaugh.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: She was extraordinarily nasty to Kavanaugh. That was a horrible event. I thought it was terrible for her. I thought it was terrible for our nation. I thought she was the meanest, the most.
The most horrible, most disrespectful of anybody in the U.S. Senate.
KAMALA HARRIS, JOE BIDEN'S VICE-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Kassovitz, Benson and Torez, which is the law firm founded by Mark Kassovitz, who is President Trump's personal lawyer. Have you had any conversation about Robert Mueller or his investigation with anyone at that firm? Yes or no?
BRETT KAVANAUGH, ASSOCIATE JUSTICE OF THE SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, is there a person you're talking to?
HARRIS: I'm asking you a very direct question. Who did you talk to?
KAVANAUGH: I don't think - I'm not remembering.
HARRIS: You have an impeccable memory. You've been speaking for almost eight hours; I think more with this committee about all sorts of things you remember.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: You're in that hearing, I'm wondering when I mean, again, the President uses the term nasty seems mostly only, but certainly mostly for women who are strong and stand up to him.
HIRONO: The President can't handle strong women because in that same proceeding, he's called me nasty and vicious regarding Kavanaugh. So that's what the President does. He calls people names. He thinks that that's how he can handle the situation. But, of course, in Kamala, he's got more than he can handle. And he's just lucky that that Pence is going to be debating Kamala and not him.
COOPER: You've worked together recently on an effort to push back on anti-Asian discrimination in the wake of a COVID-19 outbreak. I'm wondering, what do you think Senator Harris brings on these defining issues of 2020, racial justice, the pandemic writ large.
HIRONO: In all of those issues because its history making, that she is the first black woman to be part of this ticket in this - as Vice President. But she's also very strong on AAPI Asian American Pacific Islander issues. And we have worked together on immigration reform bills and also to condemn the racial attacks against Asian Americans because the President continues to refer to this virus as the China virus. And we know why he does it. It's for specific purposes. It's more than a dog whistle. It's a bull horn.
And so, she very much cares about AAPI issues. And in fact, she was the first presidential candidate to have an AAPI platform. And so, immigration issues are of major concern to her. She was also one of the first senators, as I recall, to raise the alarm about the pandemic, because there are people in California, hunters who were coming down with this virus, and she wanted us to address issues.
So, she's definitely forward leaning. She is a leader. And she's going to help to put this country back together because after the chaos of the Trump administration, we're going to need a strong team, people with integrity and a commitment to people to lead our country. And that would be the Biden-Harris team.