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Harris Raises 2020 Speculation, Attacks Trump as ‘Gutless’

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) speaks at George Washington University

WASHINGTON – Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), who said she plans to make her 2020 decision “soon,” attacked President Trump for the position he has taken on the government shutdown.

“First of all, let’s be clear, you cannot hold the American people hostage over your vanity project. I mean, but that’s what it is. That’s what it is,” Harris said on Wednesday evening during a discussion focused on her new memoir, The Truths We Hold: An American Journey, at George Washington University.

“We've had enough of these powerful voices that are trying to sow hate and division among us. I'm done with that. I'm really done with it because it is not only wrong from a moral perspective; it is unproductive if we actually want to be on a trajectory that is about achieving success and progress. It is morally wrong,” she added.

Harris compared Trump’s insistence on $5 billion in funding for a wall or steel barrier along the southern border to her young godson and “his train.”

“Any good parenting would tell you that you don't listen to those kinds of tantrums, and you don't reward bad behavior, like, I mean, seriously. Let’s put this in context. The United States Senate – unanimous bipartisan agreement on the spending package, voted out of the United States Senate, people were singing Christmas carols while we voted. I was, too," Harris said. “The design of our democracy is being tested right now.”

Harris criticized Trump’s primetime Oval Office address on the shutdown.

“I mean, it was blatant. It was blatant. He started talking about African-Americans and Latinos, ‘don't want this stuff happening,’” Harris said. “I mean, what was that supposed to be about? If not about inserting race in a way that was intended to create fear and division – that's not what a leader does and that's certainly not what the leader of the United States is supposed to do.”

The moderator read a statement from Trump about how he often listens to his gut over anything else.

“I'm doing deals, and I'm not being accommodated by the Fed,” Trump said in November. “They're making a mistake because I have a gut, and my gut tells me more sometimes than anybody else's brain can ever tell me.”

“What’s the difference between your gut and his gut?” Harris was asked.

“I would say that assumes facts not in evidence that he has a gut,” Harris replied. “There is a thing about leadership, which is you have to have the courage to do things that are in the best interest of the people you lead even if it is not in your personal best interest and you can’t be gutless when it comes to making those kinds of decisions. You have to put the needs of the people above your personal needs.”

Harris explained why she thinks the country is ready for a female president of color.

“I will say we have to give the American people more credit, and we have to understand that the American public and the people of our country are smart people, who will make decisions about who will be their leader based on who they believe is capable, who they believe has an honest desire to lead, to represent, to see them, to be a voice for them even if they have no power,” Harris told CNN earlier on Wednesday.

“Those are the kinds of people who we are as a country and so the pundits can talk all day, and all night, and there's a lot of chatter about which demographic will do this or that. It has been my life's experience that the American people are smart and they make decisions based on what's in the best interest of their household, their family and their community. And I have faith that in 2020, and in any other election, that will be their motivation when they vote,” she added.

When asked about the timeline for her 2020 announcement, Harris said, “I will make my decision soon, not at this very moment.”

Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) told PJM he's nearing a final decision on whether or not to enter the presidential race.

When asked if he is leaning more toward running, Stalwell replied, “I’m getting close, honestly.”