The primary rivals of Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., came to her defense over the weekend, pushing back against a claim fueled by Donald Trump Jr. that she isn't an “American black.”
During the Thursday night presidential debate, Harris pointedly challenged former Vice President Joe Biden's record on race. At one point, she noted that she was the beneficiary of a busing program as a child in Berkeley, Calif.
“There was a little girl in California who was part of the second class to integrate her public school, and she was bused to school every day,” Harris said. “And that little girl was me. So I will tell you that on this subject, it cannot be an intellectual debate among Democrats. We have to take it seriously. We have to act swiftly.”
On Twitter, Trump Jr. promoted a post questioning the racial identity of Harris, the Oakland-born biracial child of a Jamaican father and Indian mother.
"Kamala Harris is *not* an American Black. She is half Indian and half Jamaican," the tweet shared by Trump Jr. said.
"Is this true? Wow," Trump Jr. added before deleting his tweet.
His spokesman labeled it a misunderstanding, saying that “once he saw that folks were misconstruing the intent of his tweet, he quickly deleted it,” according to the New York Times.
All of Harris's major primary rivals united in her defense.
Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., was perhaps the bluntest.
Sen. Bernie Sanders, independent-Vt., called out Trump Jr. by name and connected his debate tweet to President Trump, who spent years promoting the "birther" conspiracy theory that former President Barack Obama was not born in the U.S.
Donald Trump Jr. is a racist too. Shocker. https://t.co/cy0N6fUseX— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) June 29, 2019
Biden, who had sparred with Harris during the debate, did the same without naming Trump Jr.
The same forces of hatred rooted in 'birtherism' that questioned @BarackObama's American citizenship, and even his racial identity, are now being used against Senator @KamalaHarris. It’s disgusting and we have to call it out when we see it. Racism has no place in America.— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) June 29, 2019
"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," said former Rep. Beto O'Rourke, D-Texas.
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. @KamalaHarris is an American. Period. And all of us must call out attempts to question her identity for what they are: racist. https://t.co/g3n7lmoU2h— Beto O'Rourke (@BetoORourke) June 29, 2019
South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg further condemned "birther-style" attacks.
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. https://t.co/x5Wdx8DKr8— Pete Buttigieg (@PeteButtigieg) June 29, 2019
Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., called the attacks "racist and ugly."
The attacks against @KamalaHarris 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.— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) June 29, 2019
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee labeled them "racist and vile."
The coordinated smear campaign on Senator @KamalaHarris is racist and vile. The Trump family is peddling birtherism again and it’s incumbent on all of us to speak out against it.— Jay Inslee (@JayInslee) June 29, 2019
Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., blasted such "vile behavior."
These troll-fueled racist attacks on Senator @KamalaHarris are unacceptable. We are better than this (Russia is not) and stand united against this type of vile behavior.— Amy Klobuchar (@amyklobuchar) June 29, 2019
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., directly said, "This is racism."
This is racism. It was wrong before, and it’s wrong now. We won’t allow it again. https://t.co/MCkHFdronw— Kirsten Gillibrand (@SenGillibrand) June 29, 2019
Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, similarly weighed in, as well as New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, Rep. Seth Moulton, D-Mass., and Montana Gov. Steve Bullock.
The attack on @KamalaHarris 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.— Tim Ryan (@TimRyan) June 29, 2019
The attacks against @KamalaHarris are racist & un-American, period.— Bill de Blasio (@BilldeBlasio) June 29, 2019
The racist attacks against @KamalaHarris are ugly and go directly against the values I and so many Americans fight to protect everyday. The American people deserve much more from their leaders, their media, and their platforms.— Seth Moulton (@sethmoulton) June 30, 2019
The ugly, racist attacks against @KamalaHarris represent the worst of us. As Americans, we’ve got to call out conspiracy theories like these — rooted in nothing less than hatred — when we see them.— Steve Bullock (@GovernorBullock) June 30, 2019
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