California Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris has never been known to pull-punches.
Harris is viewed by those who know her as someone who’s “as tough as they come.” And, she knows that any bid for president in 2020 against the bombastic Donald Trump will take a bit of rhinoceros skin to deal with.
“It’s a very serious decision,” Harris told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” co-host Mika Brzezinski during an onstage conversation at the Know Your Value conference in San Francisco. “Over the holiday, I will make that decision with my family.”
As she told NNPA Newswire in September during the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s Annual Legislative Conference, she’s keenly aware of the challenges a barrier-breaking campaign will entail.
“Let’s be honest. It’s going to be ugly,” Harris said. “When you break things, it is painful. And you get cut. And you bleed.”
Harris and her colleague from New Jersey, Sen. Cory Booker have long been seen as a possible Democratic ticket in 2020, though no one has speculated which might run as president.
“This is a critical time,” Booker told NNPA Newswire in September at the conference. “The CBC is the conscience of Congress and we have not yet achieved the American Dream, which is increasingly out of reach for many. The Dream is still deferred.”
Harris, who, like Booker, has gone from rising star to serious presidential contender, said there is plenty of work ahead.
“It’s about where we came from and where we’ve got to go,” Harris told NNPA Newswire. “This is a pivotal moment. I think we all know when Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. talked about the Dream, it wasn’t about being asleep,” Harris said. “It was about being awake.”
In her interview with MSNBC, Harris expressed frustration over the slow progress of the Secure Elections Act, which she introduced in March, along with co-sponsor Republican Sen. James Lankford of Oklahoma. The bipartisan legislation would give the Department of Homeland Security responsibility for ensuring secure elections and shoring up election infrastructure against cyber-attacks and would establish an independent advisory panel of experts to develop guidelines on election cyber security. Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell, who currently serves as the leader of the Senate, has not yet brought the legislation to the floor for a vote. Harris said she has been told that is at the White House’s request.
“First of all, let’s be clear about the fact Russia did interfere in the (2016) election of the president of the United States,” Harris told Brzezinski. “Flawed though it may be, we designed a beautiful system of democracy, and one symbol of that is that we have free and open elections. When a foreign government chooses to manipulate our democracy knowing that would compromise our strength and our perception of our strength, you would think leaders would say ‘No, we are going to do everything we can to strengthen and to give ourselves the immunity we need to be free from that kind of manipulation.’ Yet, it’s not happening.”