Kamala Harris joins the Spin Room after the second Democratic primary debate on June 27. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

Several Democratic presidential candidates defended fellow 2020 contender Sen. Kamala Harris on Saturday against false online accusations about her race and U.S. citizenship — with many calling the attacks racist.

The big picture: A social media researcher, cited in the NYT and BuzzFeed, aggregated at least 12 tweets questioning Harris' race during the first Democratic primary debate, saying "it has all the signs of being a coordinated/artificial operation." Gary Wilmot, a self-described "birther" conspiracy theorist, made accusations about Harris' race in 2017 — sentiments shared by the Daily Stormer, a neo-Nazi website.

Donald Trump Jr. shared a tweet written by an "alt-right fringe figure" Friday that falsely claimed Harris "was not black enough to be discussing the plight of black Americans," per the New York Times. He deleted the tweet by the end of the night.

"Don's tweet was simply him asking if it was true that Kamala Harris was half-Indian because it's not something he had ever heard before. And once he saw that folks were misconstruing the intent of his tweet, he quickly deleted it."
— Don Jr.'s spokesman Andy Surabian's statement to the Times

Context: On debate night, Harris, who has a Jamaican father and Indian mother, drew on her childhood experiences with racial segregation to confront former Vice President Joe Biden on his opposition to federally mandated busing for school integration in the 1970s.

What they're saying:

  • Biden tweeted, "The same forces of hatred rooted in 'birtherism' that questioned Barack Obama's American citizenship, and even his racial identity, are now being used against Senator Kamala Harris. It’s disgusting and we have to call it out when we see it. Racism has no place in America."
  • Sen. Elizabeth Warren tweeted, "The attacks against Kamala Harris are racist and ugly. We all have an obligation to speak out and say so. And it’s within the power and obligation of tech companies to stop these vile lies dead in their tracks."
  • Sen. Bernie Sanders tweeted, "Donald Trump Jr. is a racist too. Shocker."
  • Sen. Cory Booker tweeted, "Kamala Harris doesn’t have shit to prove."
  • Southbend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg tweeted, "The presidential competitive field is stronger because Kamala Harris has been powerfully voicing her Black American experience. Her first-generation story embodies the American dream. It’s long past time to end these racist, birther-style attacks."
  • Sen. Amy Klobuchar tweeted, "These troll-fueled racist attacks on Senator Kamala Harris are unacceptable. We are better than this (Russia is not) and stand united against this type of vile behavior."
  • Former Rep. Beto O'Rourke tweeted, "There's a long history of black Americans being told they don't belong—and millions are kept down and shut out to this day. Kamala Harris is an American. Period. And all of us must call out attempts to question her identity for what they are: racist."
  • Washington Gov. Jay Inslee tweeted, "The coordinated smear campaign on Senator Kamala Harris is racist and vile. The Trump family is peddling birtherism again and it’s incumbent on all of us to speak out against it."
  • Rep. Tim Ryan tweeted, "The attack on Kamala Harris is racist and we can't allow it to go unchecked. We have a responsibility to call out this birtherism and the continued spread of misinformation."

Go deeper: Kamala Harris emerges from debate as Twitter victor

This article has been updated with new details, including comments by Democratic candidates who've defended Harris.

Go deeper

Justice Department sues Google over alleged search monopoly

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

The Justice Department and 11 states Tuesday filed an antitrust lawsuit against Google, accusing the company of using anticompetitive tactics to illegally monopolize the online search and search advertising markets.

Why it matters: The long-awaited suit is Washington's first major blow against the tech giants that many on both the right and left argue have grown too large and powerful. Still, this is just step one in what could be a lengthy and messy court battle.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Politics: Americans feel Trump's sickness makes him harder to trustFlorida breaks record for in-person early voting.
  2. Health: The next wave is gaining steam.
  3. Education: Schools haven't become hotspots.
  4. World: Ireland moving back into lockdown — Argentina becomes 5th country to report 5 million infections.

In photos: Florida breaks record for in-person early voting

Voters wait in line at John F. Kennedy Public Library in Hialeah, Florida on Oct. 19. Photo: Eva Marie Uzcategui/AFP via Getty Images

More Floridians cast early ballots for the 2020 election on Monday than in the first day of in-person early voting in 2016, shattering the previous record by over 50,000 votes, Politico reports.

The big picture: Voters have already cast over 31 million ballots in early voting states as of Tuesday, per the U.S. Elections Project database by Michael McDonald, an elections expert at the University of Florida.