“We do have two systems of justice” for Black and White Americans, Harris said.
“I don’t think that most reasonable people who are paying attention to the facts would dispute that there are racial disparities and a system that has engaged in racism in terms of how the laws have been enforced,” said Harris, a California senator and former state attorney general. “It does us no good to deny that. Let’s just deal with it. Let’s be honest. These might be difficult conversations for some, but they’re not difficult conversations for leaders, not for real leaders.”
Protests against racial injustice, particularly in law enforcement, have swept across the country as police violence against Black Americans — including George Floyd in Minneapolis, Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Kentucky, Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin and Daniel Prude in Rochester, New York — has dominated headlines this summer.
“I’m very clear that we have got to in America re-imagine how we are accomplishing public safety,” Harris told Bash. “If we want to create safe communities, one of the smartest ways we can do that is invest in the health of those communities, because healthy communities are safe communities.”
Pressed about her call for charges against the Kenosha police officer who shot Blake seven times in the back, Harris insisted she had been “very clear” that charges should be “considered in a very serious way.” Pressed again, she repeated her initial statement that “based on what I saw, he should be charged,” but “I am not in full possession of the facts and the evidence.”
Harris hits Trump administration for coronavirus response
“There is no question that Donald Trump has been an abject failure and incompetent when it comes to addressing the severe job loss that has happened as a result of the pandemic, because he has failed to address the pandemic itself,” Harris told Bash. “We need to talk about how the economy is doing based on how working people are doing. And right now, working people are suffering.”
“Joe Biden and I have a plan,” Harris said on vaccine distribution. “Donald Trump does not.”
Trump said Friday he believed a coronavirus vaccine could “probably” come sometime in the month of October, though experts agree it is more likely to come later.
Asked whether she believes states should mandate a coronavirus vaccine for public school students along with other vaccinations, Harris said she would listen to public health experts.
Harris also declined to back a mask mandate on a federal level, instead calling for a “national standard.” “This is not about punishment. It’s not about big brother,” Harris said.
“We have a President of the United States who made this a partisan issue,” she continued. “The virus could care less who you voted for in the last election or who you plan to vote for in the next election. We need leadership that appreciates that, on certain issues, they should not be partisan. Wearing a mask certainly shouldn’t be one of them.”
Russian interference could ‘theoretically’ cost us the election
Harris said “of course” Russian interference in the US presidential election in 2020 could “theoretically” cost Democrats the White House in November.
“Could it cost you the White House?” asked Bash. “Theoretically, of course. Yes,” Harris responded. “I do believe that there will be foreign interference in the 2020 election, and that Russia will be at the front of the line,” Harris continued.
Harris: My mom would say ‘beat Trump’
Harris also opened up about her family in this extended interview with Bash, including her relationship with her husband, her step-children and her late mother.
“I think she’d be really, extremely proud,” Harris said, remembering her mother, who died of cancer in 2009. “And she would say, beat Trump.”
“She raised us to live a life of service. And she would look at the suffering right now, she would look at the denial of science right now and it would piss her off, excuse my language,” she said of her mother, who was a breast cancer researcher.
“We have a very modern family,” Harris told Bash. “If everyone approaches it in the way that there’s plenty of love to share, then it works. And we have plenty of love to share within our extended family.”