AOC: ‘Jury’s Out’ on Kamala—‘People Were Right to Criticize’ Criminal Justice Record

Kamala Harris (Justin Sullivan / Getty)
Justin Sullivan / Getty

A day after co-sponsoring a “climate equity” bill with Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) said the jury is still out on the presidential candidate.

Speaking to the Ebro in The Morning radio program in New York on Tuesday, Ocasio-Cortez said she has not had “a ton of one-on-one time with” Harris, adding that the “jury’s out a little bit” on her.

Ocasio-Cortez said she is trying to understand where Harris actually stands on various issues.

She also said that having Harris’s voice and “talking about her and what she represents” is still good for the party at this point. But Ocasio-Cortez, who prides herself on not being a phony, was reluctant to praise Harris or hype her candidacy.

The freshman New York lawmaker–who has indicated she favors Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)–and “Squad” leader previously told the New Yorker that she wanted to understand more of Harris’s world view while adding that critics were justified in criticizing Harris’s tough-on-truancy laws that led to the arrest of some parents in California.

“But I think, for me, I want to understand more of these candidates’ world views. And when it comes to a candidate’s past, when you can’t quite understand it, or when it’s not quite articulated yet—and it is very early—you draw on a candidate’s past to try to get a glimpse of what their world view is,” Ocasio-Cortez told the New Yorker’s David Remnick. “And, you know, I think that people were right to criticize that.”

In 2010, Harris, while she was San Francisco’s district attorney, laughed when talking to the privileged audience at San Francisco’s Commonwealth Club about how she had a “little political capital” and decided to “spend some of it” on the truancy issue. Her critics accused Harris of being a bit callous and insensitive.

Ta-Nehisi Coates simply said Harris’s advocacy of the tough anti-truancy law was “chilling.”

“I don’t want to hear about how she didn’t lock anybody up. The idea of threatening mothers — and in most cases, because of how the families were set up, it was gonna be mothers, minority black and brown mothers — with jail, under the notion that you ultimately want to help them? I find that chilling,” Coates said. “That’s really really chilling. I think it sits in a line with … There’s a whole kind of liberal thinking that tries to use the state, and particularly the punitive aspects of the state, under the notion that it’s actually going to help black people.”

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