Aug 14, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Harris: "Women are going to be a priority" in Biden administration

Sen. Kamala Harris at an event in Wilmington, Del. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

In her first sit-down interview since being named Joe Biden's running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris talked about what she'll do to fight for women if elected VP, and how the Democrats are thinking about voter turnout strategies ahead of November.

What they're saying: "In a Biden-Harris administration women are going to be a priority, understanding that women have many priorities and all of them must be acknowledged," Harris told The 19th*'s Errin Haines-Whack.

  • When asked how the campaign is thinking about voter turnout, and specifically getting Black women to vote, Harris contrasted the Democratic ticket with the GOP's.
  • "When you have one ticket saying 'Black lives matter' and another who has been full-time sowing hate and division in our country, those are the things that are going to motivate Black women to vote," she said.
  • "But it takes more than just that to get Black women to vote," she added. "People are going to have to speak to their issues, and the Biden-Harris ticket does that."

Why it matters: Harris is not shying away from her gender or interviews that specifically target women, even as President Trump and his GOP allies lob sexist attacks her way.

  • She even said it was "on purpose" that her first interview as Biden's running mate was with The 19th*, a nonprofit and nonpartisan news organization that covers the intersection of politics and gender.
  • Since the announcement of her selection as Biden's running mate, President Trump has called Harris a "mad woman," "mean" and "nasty."
  • Jenna Ellis, senior legal advisor to Trump's re-election campaign, criticized the sound of Harris' voice, comparing her to Marge Simpson from "The Simpsons."

Details: When asked how she'd fight for women if elected, Harris said, "It will certainly start with being very clear-eyed about the disproportionate weight women carry on certain issues."

  • She explained that she views so-called "women's issues" as topics that are relevant to everyone, including the economy, health care, national security, climate change and immigration.
  • Harris revealed that during her final interview with Biden, they talked about health care coverage and access and the "dignity of work and working people," among other things.
  • "I don’t think any of us thought of ourselves as being in competition with each other," Harris told The 19th* of her experience competing against women who she knows and has worked with to be selected as Biden's VP.
  • "It really was about a pride that we all had knowing that when we were running, for example, we weren’t the only ones on that stage — that we were representing a picture of what this country is and should be going forward," she added.
  • "We should be very proud that among the leaders of our nation there are so many brilliant, accomplished, talented women," Harris said.
  • She joined the conversation via livestream from Wilmington, Del., where earlier in the day she signed the necessary documents to accept the nomination for vice president next week at the Democratic National Convention.

Go deeper: Biden and Harris sign docs to receive nomination.

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